TOWSON, Md. — Baltimore County leaders on Monday announced plans to propose the SAFE ACT, that would require firearms retailers to install security measures to prevent potential burglaries.
Seven Baltimore County firearms stores were burglarized 10 times in 2018 and 2019. Four of those resulted in firearms being stolen, including one incident where 51 weapons were taken.
In June 2019, burglars targeted gun stores in Howard and Montgomery Counties two straight nights, ramming through each store with a car and stealing a total of 45 weapons.
A suspect charged in those cases was also involved in one of Baltimore County’s attempted burglaries.
According to the ATF, in 2018, burglars stole 5,652 firearms from dealers nationwide.
Maryland law authorizes local jurisdictions to regulate the purchase, sale, transfer, ownership, possession, and transportation of firearms within 100 yards of or in a park, church, school, public building, and other place of public assembly.
“Place of public assembly” means a location used for a gathering of 50 or more people for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, shopping, awaiting transportation or similar uses.
The SAFE ACT legislation would create a new county license for firearm retailers and temporary gun shows that fall under the county’s regulatory authority.
In order to obtain one of the new licenses, dealers would have to implement a Baltimore County Police Department-approved safety plan.
Under the plan, a temporary gun show must have a security plan approved by the Chief of Police, that includes an alarm system, video surveillance and live security guard coverage when the show is closed and establishments would require monitoring at all times by an alarm system registered with the county and a video system.
Other required elements include:
Bollards or another physical barrier to prevent vehicle intrusion into the building; and security gates or security screens over windows; and Either security gates or security screens over doors; or a secure vestibule for doors.
Secure all firearms in a safe, secure room, in a secured cage, or behind security shutters when the business is closed. As an alternative to this requirement, the Chief of Police may authorize the dealer to provide live security guard coverage.
The Chief of Police can approve another combination of measures.
The legislation was developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and Baltimore County firearm retail establishment owners, and is based on more stringent state safety requirements for medical cannabis facilities.
The bill will be introduced in the County Council session scheduled for Monday, December 16.