Guns sales drop, confusion grows under new law

PASADENA, Md. — A crush of gun-buyers, anxious to beat the implementation of a tough new law, has given way to a pile of paperwork and lingering uncertainty about new requirements.

Two weeks after Maryland’s strict new gun law took effect, gun dealers say the shopping spree has dropped off and customers are confused about what they need to do to purchase a firearm.

“Since Oct. 1, it’s slowed down,” says Frank Loane, owner of Pasadena Pawn & Gun. “I really haven’t sold any hand guns.”

But two weeks prior to the law taking effect, he says sales were 10 times higher than normal.

Gun dealers and Maryland State Police both struggled to keep up with a record number of new applications. In an attempt to handle it, they brought on more workers and extended hours.

The paperwork remains, but enthusiasm among potential gun buyers has subsided.

“People really don’t know what they have to do,” Loane says. “The state was absolutely not ready for the law.”


Gun dealers had to hire extra employees to handle stacks of paperwork related to the rush of purchases before Maryland’s new gun law took effect Oct.1. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

Under the new law, gun buyers are subject to training requirements and fingerprinting. Magazines can now hold a maximum of 10 rounds.

Loane remains optimistic that gun buyers will return when they get familiar with the new requirements and where to take care of them.

But the selection of firearms has shrunk. Dozens of high-powered rifles, such as the AR-15, are now banned under the new law.

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