WASHINGTON — Maryland lawmakers say the mass shooting in Orlando gives new momentum behind attempts to ban anyone on terror watch lists from being able to obtain firearms.
The Washington Post reports that Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch says lawmakers will start to work on the issues in the fall. The Maryland General Assembly session convenes in January.
The last attempt to bar anyone on the no-fly list from being able to buy firearms failed, but Maryland State Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery County, says he agrees with Speaker Busch, that the legislation has a better chance in the current climate.
However, Raskin says there are some issues with tying the bill to the no-fly list.
“We want to make sure that it’s done in such a way that people who end up falsely on the no-fly list can be removed from the no-fly list.”
David Rokah, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Maryland, says his group doesn’t object to reasonable gun laws, but the ACLU has vehemently objected to the use of the no-fly list itself.
“The no-fly list in its current state is a flawed, error-ridden and due process-free zone,” Rokah said.
Rokah also notes the government itself has found a high number of errors on the list and says Maryland would be unable to do anything about it.
“The government’s own studies have shown error rates as high as 45 percent,” Rokah said, adding that since the list is the product of federal law, “The state has precisely zero control over the accuracy or inaccuracy of the no-fly list.”
Maryland lawmakers are also debating whether to revive a different law that would ban firearms from college campuses and another that would require felons — and anyone convicted of domestic abuse — to show proof that they’ve surrendered their weapons.