Md. bill would require domestic abusers to give up their guns

WASHINGTON — Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that could better protect victims of domestic violence by taking away offenders’ firearms within two days of conviction.

Under Maryland law, felons cannot legally have a gun, and this measure aims to do more in preventing tragedies like the recent killing of Mujahid Ramzziddin, a Prince George’s County police officer.

The legislation is sponsored by Howard County Del. Vanessa Atterbeary. A companion bill sponsored by Montgomery County state Sen. William C. Smith went before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks admitted it’s not the perfect solution — as the bill relies in part on the honor system that offenders will turn in all of their firearms — but she said it’s a step in the right direction.

“Domestic abusers who possess guns similar to the case we just experienced involving [Sgt.] Ramzziddin … will have to bring that gun in, turn it in, and a judge can actually check that the gun has been turned over,” she said.

“It also goes even further to allow a judge to bring that individual back into court within five days, whereupon the person has to produce a receipt to prove that they have turned over guns after being convicted of [a] disqualifying offense,” Alsobrooks said.

Ramzziddin, a 14-year veteran of the Prince George’s County police force and father of four, died when a felon shot him as he attempted to protect the man’s estranged wife, investigators have said.

The bill goes to the Maryland House on Tuesday.

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