Maryland lawmakers have proposed a series of new gun control laws they say would strengthen a sweeping set of regulations enacted in 2013, including one that would all but ban the possession of air rifles and many toy guns.
The new bill proposed by Baltimore delegate Jill Carter would bar the sale, possession or use of so-called “imitation firearms” and would impose a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison for any violation. The bill defines imitation firearms as “a toy, a device or an object that substantially duplicates or can reasonably be perceived to be a firearm or a handgun.”
There is no so-called “grandfather clause,” so according to the legislation, anyone who owns a toy or an air gun that’s defined as an “imitation” would be violating the law.
Carter’s bill, dubbed HB0879 would require any toy or air gun be made in a bright color, have a closed barrel or have an obvious stamp with the manufacturer’s name or trademark that can be “readily identified” on its exterior. The bill exempts “non-firing collector replicas of an antique firearm.”
The new bill is part of a package of anti-gun laws being considered in Maryland’s next legislative session, including one that would make muzzleloaders subject to background checks and another that would ban any possession of firearms or knives on college campuses in the state. Democratic lawmakers see these bills as closing “loopholes” left after Maryland’s sweeping 2013 gun ban, which barred most AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles and required licensing for the possession of a handgun.
“This legislation is poorly drafted and short-sighted,” the NRA said of Carter’s imitation firearm ban. “It will ban the BB and pellet guns that many parents use to teach their children safe gun handling and marksmanship.”
A companion bill under consideration in the Maryland Senate would ban the sale or transfer of imitation firearms, but not the possession or use of them. The state legislative session begins March 9.