submitted by Willow Goode
The United States of America has a gun problem. This past summer 19 children and 2 adults were murdered at Robb Elementary. A school that was celebrating its final days before summer break. Instead of planning summer vacations families were planning funerals. Unfortunately, this has become the stark reality of living in the United States.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, “Every day, more than 110 Americans are killed with guns and more than 200 are shot and wounded”. The United States is not the only country that deals with mental illness, domestic violence, and extreme racism, but the United States is a country where people can easily access a gun due to the relaxed laws. Daily news of shootings dominates the headlines and our communities are becoming numb to the violence.
After repeated mass shootings in May 2022, the League of Women Voters of the United States submitted recommendations on gun safety reforms to the Congressional Judiciary Committees. The League writes “Comprehensive legislative reform must be moved through this committee and considered for a floor vote to reduce gun violence and increase public safety for the nation. We are grateful that common sense legislation has moved in the US House, but there is more that must be done by both chambers of Congress to ensure that the horrific mass shootings of our children and our communities come to an end.” The League also writes about what should be included in comprehensive gun safety reform to include the following “(1) closing the gun show loophole, (2) providing universal background checks, (3) banning assault weapons and placing limits on high-capacity ammunition magazine size, (4) increasing penalties for straw purchases of guns, and (5) funding research and reporting on gun violence in America”.
A recent Supreme Court ruling of 6-3 New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen has now made some of Maryland’s gun laws unconstitutional. Like New York, Maryland has a stipulation that for people to obtain a handgun they are required to provide a “good and substantial reason” however the Supreme court has now deemed this unconstitutional making it that some of our gun laws will need to be rewritten.
This session the new ruling will be impacting proposed gun legislation. Already this session there has been a push to reduce and weaken gun control in the state. The League will be tracking several firearms control bills that have been introduced. A few of those bills are as follows:
SB001- Criminal Law - Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms - Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023). The League will be supporting this bill which would prohibit anyone wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm onto the property of another unless given certain permissions.
SB0086- Rifles and Shotguns – Possession – Age Requirement (Raise the Age Act of 2023). The League will be supporting this bill which would ban anyone from selling, renting, or transferring ammunition to a person under the age of 21. It would also prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from being able to purchase a rifle or shotgun (under certain circumstances). The League strongly supports restricting the availability of handguns and automatic weapons. According to Everytown for Gun Safety “When an assault weapon is used in a mass shooting there are six times as many people shot.”
The gun violence epidemic is not something that can be solved overnight, but something that will take time. Here at the League we hope we can get this epidemic under control before more lives are lost.