Gun law looms despite backlog, no new license system

WASHINGTON – When Maryland’s new gun law goes into effect Tuesday, it will be one of the toughest in the country.

The new law requires safety training and fingerprinting in order to purchase a handgun. It also limits magazines to 10 rounds and bans a total of 45 assault weapons.

However, some say the state isn’t ready for the changes, due to a massive backlog.

Background checks that are usually processed in a week are now taking three months or more, and the number of gun applications have reached about 1,000 per day heading into Oct. 1.

In addition, the new license system isn’t in place and gun dealers say the state isn’t ready to roll out regulations.

Maryland State Police say they won’t enforce the law for people who have pending applications that were submitted before the Oct. 1 deadline.

“It’s still illegal but they’re just not enforcing it. There’s no way we can play by these rules,” says Andy Raymond, co-owner of Engage Armament in Rockville, Md.

The Maryland State Police website indicates the new licensing system was supposed to go live on Sept. 28, but as of Sept. 30, it’s not functioning.

“We dont even have the new forms — we don’t even have the new 77Rs,” Raymond says.

Gun rights advocates say gun sales may be suspended altogether, and two lawsuits have been filed to delay the law until pending applications can be processed and a new system is established.

A hearing for one lawsuit is set for Tuesday, Oct. 1, the same day the law takes effect.

WTOP’s Jamie Forzato contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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