Read the analysis by Professor Daniel Webster and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on the benefits of fingerprint-based handgun licensing. 


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The Problem

The easier it is for a criminal to obtain a gun, the easier it will be to commit a crime with it.  That’s why Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence supports common sense measures to reduce gun violence.

There are always a number of contributing factors to why crime happens, but the lack of licensing, safety training, and fingerprinting of gun purchases is something we can address right away to reduce gun violence in Maryland.

While violent crime in Maryland has been driven down in recent years, Maryland’s murder rate is 44% higher than the national average and Maryland has the second highest handgun murder rate in the nation.  A majority of the guns used to commit crime in Maryland originated within the state, indicating that something about our current gun policies is making it easy for criminals to obtain guns. The easier it is for a criminal to obtain a handgun, the easier it will be to commit a crime with it. States like New York and New Jersey that have fingerprint licensing of handgun purchasers have significantly lower handgun death rates than states like Maryland that do not.

We also must do all we can to prevent the tragedies that struck Aurora, Oak Creek, and Newtown from happening here in Maryland. Between 1994 and 2004 when the assault weapons ban was in effect, assault weapons traced to gun crimes dropped 45% nationally. In Maryland, it led to a 55% drop in assault pistols recovered by the Baltimore Police Department. While banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines may not significantly reduce crime overall, a ban does make it harder for a person to obtain a weapon that can cause maximum damage in minimum time.

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The Solution

Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence (MPGV) supports the following common sense measures to reduce gun violence:

1. Require a license to purchase a handgun with appropriate age restrictions, mandatory safety training and fingerprinting, in addition to the current background check done by the Maryland State Police.  Research indicates that a license-to-purchase requirement is associated with significantly lower levels of intrastate gun trafficking. A license to purchase would not be required for hunting rifles and shotguns.

Seven states now require fingerprinting before a firearm purchase: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.

Feb. 20, 2013 poll shows that 81% of Maryland voters support the licensing of purchase of handguns. Read more.

2. Limit Magazine Capacity to 10 Rounds.  Maryland currently allows up to 20 rounds per magazine.  The proposed legislation would reduce the allowable magazine capacity from 20 rounds to 10.

3. Ban Military-Style Assault Weapons designed to kill and inflict the maximum amount of human carnage.  Maryland currently bans only 15 enumerated assault pistols, but allows for the sale and possession of high-capacity, military weapons designed to kill.  MPGV supports efforts to ban these assault weapons that are designed for the battlefield and have no place in our society.

4. Provide the Maryland State Police with the authority to regulate firearm dealers and require that a licensed dealer keep records of all receipts, sales, and other dispositions of firearms affected in connection with the dealer’s business.

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Take Action

The Firearms Safety Act was signed into law on Thursday, May 16th, by Governor Martin O’Malley.

Please thank members of the House and Senate for courageously supporting this lifesaving legislation:

Take Action!

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