Maryland Lawmakers Consider Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

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The Maryland State Senate is set to take up a bill that would require background checks on private sales of riles and shotguns.

The Senate will take up a different version of the bill than the one passed by the House of Delegates. If approved, a conference committee will have to iron out the differences before it heads to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk for his signature.

The Senate version does not require background checks for loans and gifts of long guns. It also prohibits anyone from knowingly giving or selling a gun to a person barred from owning one, or whom they believe might commit a crime or harm themselves or others.

Maryland law requires background checks for sales of long guns by licensed firearm dealers, but does not require the same for private sales. The legislation requires a buyer to undergo a background check through a licensed dealer before a private sale is complete.

Following the shooting at Great Mills High School in 2018 that killed an 18-year-old student, Governor Larry Hogan expressed support for increased background checks. Sheriff Mike Lewis of Wicomico County had previously said he wouldn’t comply with a long gun licensing bill, which is not directly related to this legislation. The National Rifle Association says it does not support increased background checks because they say criminals don’t comply with laws.