Long gun restrictions among four Maryland Senate veto overrides

COLLEGE PARK, Md. –– The Maryland Senate overrode four vetoes from Gov. Larry Hogan, R, on Tuesday, including one that would require a licensed firearms dealer to facilitate most transactions involving rifles and shotguns.

The four bills that the Senate overrode were part of a slew of legislation from the previous session that Hogan vetoed in May 2020, at least in part to limit new state expenditures at the start of the pandemic.

To become law, the bills will also need to be overridden with a three-fifths majority in the Maryland House of Delegates, where, as in the Senate, Democrats have a supermajority of members.

Licensed armed dealers would mediate the sale, rental or transfer of the weapons as if selling from their own shop, including conducting background checks, following state and federal laws and charging a fee, if the House of Delegates overrides the veto.

“This bill closes a huge loophole and keeps violent criminals with dangerous histories from going around the law,” bill sponsor Sen. Susan Lee, D-Montgomery, said during Tuesday’s floor session.

Senate Republicans criticized the bill, SB0208, which the body approved 31-16, saying it criminalizes hunters and gamesmen and arguing that legislation should instead target violent crimes committed with illegally obtained weapons.

Another vetoed bill, SB0314, which the Senate overrode 31-16, would require that police and court copies of juvenile records remain private unless a child is tried as an adult for a violent crime –– a programming change that would cost the state slightly over $55,000 in the next fiscal year alone.

A third bill, SB0684, would, if the House overrides Hogan’s veto, require the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to operate a new prerelease unit that would prepare female inmates to reenter society.

The project, which the Senate passed 32-15, would cost the state more than $3.4 million.

The fourth bill, SB1065, approved 32-14 in the Senate, would, if enacted in the House, budget an additional $5.5 million through 2026 for the struggling Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a nonprofit with roughly 100 employees that expends more than $25 million annually.

The state has budged nearly $2 million for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra each year of the last decade, according to legislative analysis.

The Senate moved to April 12 a vote on the veto for a bill, SB0184, that would mandate a study of how air traffic noise affects communities near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and the body postponed indefinitely a vote on a bill, SB0300, regulating pesticide use.

The Senate is expected to vote to override –– and enact –– more of Hogan’s vetoed bills, including the Kirwan education bill and accompanying digital advertising reforms, which the House overrode Monday, later in the week.

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