The following information that deals with the impacts of the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 (Senate Bill 281), that will become law in October, was sent to the Times-News by State Delegate Wendell Beitzel.
• A person who owns a firearm is required to report the loss or theft of the firearm within 72 hours of discovery. There is a civil penalty for the first offense and a criminal penalty for the second offense.
• Records relating to handgun purchases and handgun permits are not subject to the public information act.
• People moving into Maryland after Oct. 1, 2013, with the intent of becoming a resident have 90 days to register their regulated firearms with Maryland State Police. The registration fee is $15.
• Designates 45 rifles as “Assault Long Guns” including the AR-15, SKS, as well as any of their “copycats” and bans the sale of these firearms effective Oct. 1.
• A “copycat” weapon is defined as a centerfire, semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine that has two or more of the following features.
• Folding stock
• Grenade or flare launcher
• Flash suppressor
A “copycat” also includes
• A semi-automatic centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds
• A semi-automatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds
• A semi-automatic shotgun that has a folding stock
• A shotgun with a revolving cylinder
This bill is not retroactive. If you currently own one of these firearms, or purchase prior to Oct. 1, 2013, you can continue to possess your firearm. In addition, these firearms can continue to be passed on through inheritance provided the heir is not otherwise disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm.
If you order a banned firearm before Oct. 1, 2013, but do not receive your firearm before that date, you may still take possession after Oct. 1.
Active and retired law enforcement officers, as well as active military personnel over age 21, are exempt from the provisions and restrictions of this bill.
Magazine Capacity and Ammunition
• Effective Oct. 1, magazine size for all firearms is restricted to 10 rounds or fewer. The purchase, transfer, or sale of higher capacity magazines is prohibited.
• This bill is not retroactive. If you currently possess a large capacity magazine, you may continue to do so.
• Bans a person from possessing any ammunition if they are disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm (by virtue of a criminal conviction, drug or alcohol abuse, is a fugitive from justice, or suffers from a mental disorder).
• To purchase a handgun after Oct. 1 you must apply to the Maryland State Police for a handgun qualification license.
• To receive the license, you must complete a Firearms Orientation Course consisting of four hours of classroom and range training covering state firearms law, home firearm safety, as well as handgun mechanisms and operations. The range component includes orientation specific to the firearm involving safe handling.
• The cost of the initial licensing, fingerprinting, and background check is paid by the applicant and is estimated to be more than $100.
• The course is a one-time only requirement for the initial application.
• You do not have to take the training course if any of the following apply:
- You have completed an MSP-approved certified safety course
- You have completed the DNR hunter safety course
- You are currently a qualified handgun instructor
- You are an honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces or National Guard
- You are an employee of an armored car company who has a handgun permit issued by MSP
- You lawfully own a regulated firearm (If you already own a regulated firearm, you do not have to ever complete the training to apply for the handgun purchase license.)
To receive the license, you must submit a full set of digital fingerprints and undergo a full background check.
Once issued, the license is good for 10 years and you are not required to take additional training courses or submit fingerprints when you apply to renew the license. The renewal fee is $20.
You do not need a license to own a handgun or an assault rifle. You only need the license if you are going to purchase a handgun after Oct. 1.
Active and retired military and police are exempt from the license requirements but must show valid credentials to the dealer to purchase. Also exempt are manufacturers and persons purchasing an antique, curio, or relic as defined by federal law.