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Ghost guns, paint cans and solar panels up for debate on House floor

Following legislation through the MGA
Posted: 1:33 PM, Mar 09, 2022
Updated: 2022-03-09 13:38:58-05
Maryland State House Spring 2022
Redistricting Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Lawmakers today got into some passionate debates today on the House floor over legislation concerning topics ranging from paint to guns.

WMAR-2 News has put these wide-ranging bills in focus, and we're continuing to follow them through the legislative process.

Before hearing several amendments on ghost guns, the House of Delegates had a pretty intense debate over some amendments to HB18, named the Maryland Paint Stewardship.

Maryland Paint Stewardship Bill

Cross-filed in the Senate as SB143, the bill would have paint sellers include a fee at the time of sale, so that they could take back unfinished paint cans and take care of the recycling process.

Paint Cans on shelf

Two lawmakers brought amendments to the chamber floor, which were both eventually rejected.

Del. Kathy Szeliga offered an amendment that would remove sales tax from paint to offset the cost of the fee, which failed 51-to-78.

In a different approach, Del. Mark Fisher then offered an amendment that would add solar panels to this bill. He argued that many lawmakers push very hard for renewable energy, but the panels themselves end up in landfills, much like the partially filled paint cans.

Delegate Brian Crosby, during the debate over the amendment says that this specific issue would be taken up in a separate bill in the "near future." He then argued, that because the solar panel amendment had nothing to do with the paint bill, that the Delegates should reject the bill, which they did, in a 39-91 vote.

Ghost Gun Bill

A couple of other bills quickly passed their second readings, before the chamber moved on to HB425, which prohibits the possession of an unserialized firearm.

Ghost Guns Lawsuit
FILE - "Ghost guns" are displayed at the headquarters of the San Francisco Police Department in San Francisco, on Nov. 27, 2019. The Los Angeles City Council has passed a ban on “ghost guns” that police say represent an increasingly large share of the weapons used in violent crimes. The council’s unanimous vote Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, bans the possession, sale, receipt or purchase of the virtually untraceable guns — which are made from build-it-yourself kits. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

This impacts what are known as ghost guns, which can be bought as kits and don't have a serial number.

RELATED: First hearing on ghost gun bill set for Wednesday

The bill faced four amendments from Republican lawmakers, which prompted several discussions about how law-abiding citizens who have built these guns for fun might go about keeping these guns without violating the law.

Delegate Jason Buckel offered an amendment that would make the theft of a firearm a felony.

"If you're concerned about illegal guns," he says, "[then] you have to be concerned about the theft of guns."

Delegate Lesley Lopez, one of the sponsors of the bill, said in response that there is, in fact, a law that makes it illegal to be in possession of a stolen firearm.

"If you want to stop gun violence, your ghost gun bill just ain't gonna cut it," argues Del. Buckel.

The amendment was rejected in a 50-80 vote.

RELATED: Push to change ghost gun laws in Annapolis

Delegate Jesse Pippy proposed an amendment that would remove the jail time from the amendment, bringing the current invasion into Ukraine into his argument.

Del. Lopez made a request that her colleagues not compare the bill to the war in Ukraine, just before the amendment was rejected in a 44-87 vote.

A third amendment, proposed by Delegate Wayne Hartman, that would require the the Maryland State Police to list where Marylanders can get a gun serialized on its website, led to a very technical discussion of serial numbers on guns.

Delegates rejected the amendment to the bill in a 49-to-83 vote.

RELATED: Lawmakers in Annapolis hold hearing on ghost guns

Following this, a fourth amendment was brought by Delegate Johnny Mautz from the Eastern Shore.

"[The amendment] would provide $10 million to create a special crime unit for firearm violence," said Del. Mautz in explanation.

In response, Del. Lopez asked Del. Mautz how many Baltimore City delegates he had spoken with in drafting this amendment.

"None," he responded.

"Did you speak with Commissioner Harrison?" asked Del. Lopez.

"No," said Del. Mautz.

"It sounds like you've got some work to do," responded Del. Lopez before urging delegates to resist the amendment.

The House did reject the amendment, 41-88.

The bill then faced a motion to be sent back to committee, which ultimately failed.

HB425 was then passed to second reading.

Other Bills

Another bill we've been following closely is HB226 which would require cameras in special education classrooms across the state.

RELATED: Bill requiring cameras in self-contained special education classrooms introduced a third time

There was no debate or amendments proposed to the bill, so it passed second reading quickly.

Other issues that were debated included helmet requirements for riding horses and the foreign manufacture of voting machines.

Ten amendments were also proposed to the Abortion Care Access Act, HB937. All were rejected.