Hundreds testify on dozens of gun-related bills in Annapolis


(Annapolis, MD) Hundreds of citizens spoke out on dozens of gun-related bills during a marathon public hearing Tuesday before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee.

The measures being discussed included a ban on bumpstocks gun accessories, allowing school employees to carry weapons as well as parishioners in houses of worship.

Another measure would make it easier for law enforcement officials to remove the weapons from those convicted of domestic violence.

During a rally Tuesday on Lawyer's Mall in Annapolis, Jack Arnold and twin-sister Karis were celebrating their 16th birthday.

But they say their day got off to a scary start when they learned that someone had made a threat of violence at their high school.

Karis Arnold says "For me it's terrifying to think that somebody would say that they're going to come into our school while we're having class while we're just trying to get our education and shoot people in our school."

Jack Arnold says he hopes legislators will take action to improve safety in schools.

"We do need some change with different gun reforms or background checks," said Jack.

Many members of the gun control group "Moms Demand Action" turned out for the public hearing on several bills.

But John Mountjoy with the gun advocacy group "Maryland Shall Issue" says he supports a measure which would make it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain a concealed carry permit to protect themselves.

Mountjoy also says he thinks the state should enforce existing gun laws and do more to prevent violent offenders and those with mental health issues to obtain weapons.

"If someone is a threat, if we view them as unsafe to be out in public, a sex predator, a repeat criminal, they should not be on the street," said Mountjoy.

Delegate Deborah C. Rey, a Republican who represents St. Mary's County, says a bill which would have banned the possession of a detachable magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition has been withdrawn.

Gun rights advocates had argued that the measure could have subjected thousands of law-abiding gun owners to fines or prison.

There is no word on when the House Judiciary Committee will vote on some or all of the gun-related bills.

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