Maryland: "Despair Fills Md. Gun Dealers"


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cuchulainn
December 31, 2002, 09:25 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56389-2002Dec30.html

Despair Fills Md. Gun Dealers
Few Weapons Will Meet Trigger-Lock Law's Standards

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 31, 2002; Page A01


The nation's first state law requiring all new handguns to be outfitted with built-in trigger locks will take effect in Maryland tomorrow, a measure gun control advocates predict will save lives but one that has gun dealers fearing for their livelihoods.

Only six models of handguns and integrated trigger locks now on the market would meet the law's standards, and manufacturers of other models have started cutting back their distribution in Maryland, several dealers said yesterday.

Sanford Abrams, of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, said limiting the sales options to such a small array of models will be painful, and he offered a gloomy forecast for the dealers' long-term survival.

"It will have a disastrous effect," he said. "Companies are not and will not be compliant. There will be hundreds of models that will no longer be available."

The dealers are hoping that legal action or the party change in the Maryland governor's office will help blunt the impact of the provision. And a spokeswoman for Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) yesterday repeated Ehrlich's campaign pledge to "take a fresh look at this law, as well as all laws surrounding the sale of guns."

But dealers were not optimistic that such efforts would prove meaningful. "Short of seeing the General Assembly pass a new law, I don't see a lot of hope for intervening," Abrams said.

The gun control advocates who aggressively lobbied to see the measure put in place said they are not overly concerned about gun dealers' potential hardships.

"How do you balance saving the life of a child against the prospects that sales might decrease somewhat?" asked Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), one of the chief sponsors of the measure. "To me, when you look at the balance, it comes out heavily on the side of saving lives."

The trigger-lock provision was part of a raft of gun control measures the Maryland General Assembly passed in 2000 despite bitter opposition from the rural reaches of the state and the National Rifle Association, which enlisted its 50,000 Maryland members to phone lawmakers just before key votes.

Passage came on the strength of support from Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) and from legislators in the state's larger, more liberal-leaning counties, and it prompted President Bill Clinton to make his first and only trip to a state capital to attend a bill signing.

At the time, Clinton called the law a model for how government can help eliminate accidents that can occur when children play with guns. It will do so, advocates said, by limiting the sale of handguns to those with an integrated locking system that can limit the use of the weapon to people who hold the key or know the combination.

"This will save lives," said Matt Fenton, president of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse Inc. "It's the way of the future."

Lillian Pubillones Nolan, the Montgomery County chapter director of the Million Mom March, said the law will help protect Maryland's children.

"Tragically, we have too many instances where children wind up victims in an accident because guns are left unattended," Nolan said. "If this means saving lives, I think responsible gun owners should see it as a minor inconvenience."

But gun enthusiasts remain doubtful about the potential benefits.

"The problem with this is, you're trying to make the object safer instead of the individuals who handle it," said Richard Berglund, president of the Maryland Arms Collectors Association.

In the meantime, store owners worry that the law could lead to serious financial problems.

"In the short run, it might increase business, as people buy the last of the new guns" manufactured before the Jan. 1 deadline, said Steve Schneider, who owns Atlantic Guns of Silver Spring. "But in the long run, it's a scary prospect."

Schneider said he believes that it is unlikely that gunmakers will take steps to remodel their weapons just to comply with the laws of one small Mid-Atlantic state. He compared it to asking automakers to build cars with the steering wheel on the right-hand side just for sales in Maryland.

"I hope they will do it," Schneider said. "But you have to wonder how much they feel the need to suit Maryland's whims."

Already, there are rumblings that some in the industry plan to sue the state to test the validity of the law.

Carl Roy, owner of Maryland Small Arms, an indoor shooting range and weapons distributor in Upper Marlboro, said he is banking on the chance that such a lawsuit will lead to a temporary restraining order, halting enforcement of the law.

"I believe it's a restraint of trade," Roy said. "It's basically going to ban new guns in the state. We've already had a number of distributors saying they won't ship guns into the state."

Frosh noted that the final version of the measure was a compromise with gun enthusiasts.

The measure mandated the locks, created mandatory sentences for gun crimes, required ballistic "fingerprinting" of shell casings from new guns and required those wishing to purchase a handgun to complete two hours of safety training.

But Glendening agreed to eliminate provisions that would have required even more advanced high-tech locks, such as those that would unlock only if sensors in the grip recognize the owner's fingerprints.

Gov. James E. McGreevey (D) made New Jersey the first state to require the "smart gun" technology this month. But that law won't take effect until three years after the state's attorney general determines that the technology is sound.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

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coati
December 31, 2002, 10:29 AM
Today's paper reminded me of this wonderful fact about our neighbor across the river. I know a number of handgun owners who live there and are pretty frosted about this but are hoping that Ehrlich's "fresh look" will bear fruit.

"This will save lives," said Matt Fenton, president of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse Inc."

It'll save the lives of thugs.

2dogs
December 31, 2002, 10:36 AM
This is an example of a completely useless law- this law will help no one, save no one, and it's only reason for being is to deny ordinary people access to firearms.

This law now passed is, in all likelyhood, going to stay. But by all means, let's have more "reasonable" restrictions put into place.

Keep voting for these communists and you will one day be digging out your own six foot hole in the woods before they put a bullet in the back of your head.:impaled:

Leatherneck
December 31, 2002, 10:40 AM
Right on, 2dogs. If only the voters outside of Balmer and Monkey County would get out and vote, then common sense might prevail...
TC
TFL Survivor

Standing Wolf
December 31, 2002, 10:40 AM
Obviously, the People's Republic of New Jersey is just trying to make it more difficult and more expensive for commoners to exercise their Second Amendment civil rights. The leftist extremists know they can't simply abolish the Second Amendment, so they're eviscerating it one slice at a time.

Leftists are to American civil rights as the A.I.D.S. virus is to health.

Leatherneck
December 31, 2002, 10:47 AM
Um, Wolfie? We're talkin' MARYLAND here, guy. Are you saying Joisey is spreading its filth southward?:eek:
TC
TFL Survivor

Noban
December 31, 2002, 11:45 AM
"Hey, now that I can just lock my pistol's action and don't need a safe, I can leave it lying about. The kids certainly can't be harmed now. That's what the law says." Geesh :rolleyes:

clange
December 31, 2002, 12:07 PM
"Tragically, we have too many instances where children wind up victims in an accident because guns are left unattended," Nolan said. "If this means saving lives, I think responsible gun owners should see it as a minor inconvenience."
More children are killed every year by drowning in 5 gallon plastic water-filled buckets. We should ban the sale of such dangerous devices until integrated lids are used. Think of the children!

gun-fucious
December 31, 2002, 12:35 PM
Casper Taylor the olde "pro gun" speaker of the house in MD
payed quite dearly for his treachery in the passing of SB211

Despite his "support letter" from the NRA, (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=123331)
a small group of MD patriots arranged for his unexpected un-election

http://zoom.cafepress.com/8/1594348_zoom.jpg
There will be other "Heads on Pikes" (http://www.mcrkba.org/HOPActions.html) in Maryland

Capital Punishment
December 31, 2002, 02:23 PM
I really wish i had more money. I could only buy one handgun before this policy goes into effect. :(

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