Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a couple of gun control bills, Senate Bill 208 and House Bill 4, which would have restricted the rights of legal firearm owners while doing nothing to stop violent criminals. Gov. Hogan noted the two bills failed to meet his requirement of holding violent criminals accountable, which was his primary concern.
House Bill 4 would have imposed background checks for shotguns and rifles while Senate Bill 208 imposed restrictions and fines for the private transfer of firearms. Maryland Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety lobbied for years to have House Bill 4 passed.
During the state of the state address in February, Gov. Hogan implored the legislature to at least pass the Violent Firearm Offenders Act Of 2020, the Witness Intimidation Prevention Act, and the Judicial Transparency Act. However, both the House and the Senate passed the two bills, which failed to address the initial governor’s concerns.
After the veto, the governor reminded the legislature he was willing to consider some of the proposals they passed as part of a comprehensive crime package if they included his recommendations.
The Violent Firearm Offenders Act Of 2020, proposed by Gov. Hogan, would increase penalties for actual violent crimes. Additionally, it targeted firearms illegally owned or those in the hands of felons. The Witness Intimidation Prevention Act would protect those who report violent crimes while the Judicial Transparency Act would require the public release of the records of judges who adjudicate violent crimes.
However, the legislature focused on passing the bills that had nothing to do with crime prevention, and whose sole purpose was to make a political statement. Restricting private transfers between close people and enforcing background checks do not prevent criminals from owning firearms. Most criminals obtain their guns by stealing them or from the black market.
Having weak violent crime laws and allowing the intimidation of witnesses as well as having flawed trials ensures the criminals are released back into the community to commit more crime and further victimize the witnesses. Consequently, Gov. Hogan wanted to addresses these issues, but the legislature wanted to play politics, hence the veto.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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