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House Advances Bill to Require Background Checks on Private Gun Transfers

The Maryland House of Delegates advanced a bill Friday to require background checks on private sales and transfers of shotguns and rifles.

House Bill 4 will be up for final approval in the chamber next week.

Supporters said the bill, sponsored by Del. Vanessa E. Atterbeary (D-Howard), will address a loophole in current law that could allow people prohibited from owning handguns due to prior offenses to access rifles and shotguns in ways that circumvent background checks.

The bill would require that private sales and transfers of those long guns be overseen by a licensed arms dealer. There are exceptions in the bill, including for transfers among family members and for temporary use at shooting ranges and while legally hunting.

Republicans in the House of Delegates sought several amendments to the bill, none of which passed.

Similar legislation failed to pass on the last day of the 2019 legislative session, as lawmakers ran out of time to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the long gun bill.

A hearing on a cross-filed Senate bill is scheduled for next week.

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House Advances Bill to Require Background Checks on Private Gun Transfers