Md. bump stock ban headed to Gov. Hogan’s desk

WASHINGTON — A bill to determine the future of bump stocks in Maryland will soon be on the desk of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has said he would sign it, even as opponents say the bill could be challenged in court.

The state Senate approved the bill Wednesday, on a vote of 35-11.

State Sen. Victor Ramirez of Prince George’s County sponsored Senate Bill 707, which is paired with House Bill 888, sponsored by Montgomery County Del. David Moon.

“Starting on Oct. 1, 2018, it would be illegal to possess, transport, or manufacture bump stocks, or similar devices, in the state of Maryland,” Ramirez said. “You would be subject to up to three years of imprisonment, and/or $5,000 in fines.”

If Hogan signs the bill into law, it would amount to a near-total prohibition of bump stocks, and other similar rapid-fire devices, including those that haven’t been invented yet.

“It says any devices that mimic bump stocks, and any device that accelerates the firepower (of a weapon) would be banned, here in the state of Maryland.

Opponents say the bill is ripe to be challenged in court, because bump stocks purchased legally before the ban would now be considered illegal.

“Right now it’s just seizure of private property without any just compensation,” Mark Pennak, president of the gun rights group Maryland Shall Issue told the Baltimore Sun. “The state is obligated to pay for what it takes.”

Ramirez said the bill would involve a provision that would let prosecutors seek an additional penalty, if the bump stock, or similar device, is used in a crime of violence, “which could be 10 years (in prison) or more.”

Also, Hogan has said he would support legislation that could temporarily seize guns, through a “lethal violence protective order.

Introduced in February by Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith, D-Prince George’s, the bill would allow law enforcement to seize guns in domestic violence cases.

Pennak said his group is considering court challenges for both the bump stock and protective order bills.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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