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Md. sees surge in applications to buy guns ahead of law

Jamie Forzato, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Gun purchase applications in Maryland have reached record highs ahead of the new gun control law that will take effect in October and the surge in gun sales is creating a massive backlog.

Usually, the state completes background checks on gun buyers in a week or less.

But, The Baltimore Sun reports the Maryland State Police have received more applications so far this year than they did all year in 2008.

Now the delay on background checks stretches into ten weeks, overwhelming the background check system.

By law, gun dealers are only required to wait seven days before releasing firearms to the buyer. Because of the delay, Maryland State Police issued an advisory saying dealers are allowed to release them after that time period, even if the background check has not been approved, but there is a caviat.

Dealers can release guns without the results of the Maryland State Police background check as long as “the dealer or person has not received notice that the application has been placed on hold or disapproved by Maryland State Police and the dealer or person does not have actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the recipient is disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm under Maryland or federal law,” according to the MSP advisory.

Maryland State Police have tripled their staff to process the unprecedented amount of applications, The Baltimore Sun reports. But gun groups have filed a lawsuit to speed up the process.

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