Bill requiring background checks for private sales of rifles and shotguns passes the House

Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 15:29:21-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md — Editor's Note: This article has been updated to make clear the bill requires background checks on the private sales of long guns.

The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill Monday that would require background checks on private sales of long guns, including shotguns and rifles.

The bill's sponsor, Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, says the it closes a gap in state law. Currently, private transfers of rifles and shotguns do not require a background check.

Atterbeary's bill was initially much broader, creating a long-gun license and a registry of long-gun owners. Those provisions were taken out by the House Judiciary Committee. Still, she said the version moving forward would be a significant policy improvement by requiring more background checks. She said the background checks will flag people who are prohibited from buying a gun for reasons such as being previously convicted of violent crimes.

The bill now has to go to Senate.