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Moms Demand Action Backs Police Reform Legislation, Calls For Tighter Purchasing Restrictions

Moms Demand Action holds a rally in Annapolis in 2019. Photo by Bruce DePuyt.

The Maryland chapter of Mom’s Demand Action Against Gun Violence announced their legislative priorities Thursday morning, emphasizing a desire to enact meaningful police reform this session.

“Because when police in America shoot and kill more than 1,000 people every year, and Black people are victims at a disproportionate rate, police violence is gun violence,” Danielle Veith, the Maryland chapter leader for Mom’s Demand Action, said.

The organization backs legislation sponsored by Del. Debra Davis (D-Charles) that would create a statewide police use-of-force policy, and a bill cosponsored by Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery) and Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore City) that seeks to make certain police misconduct records available through public records requests.  

Mom’s Demand Action is also looking to the legislature to control the possession of untraceable and undetectable firearms, also known as “ghost guns.”

Sponsored by Del. Lesley Lopez (D-Montgomery) and cross-filed by Sen. Susan Lee (D-Montgomery), House Bill 638 would regulate the ability to purchase or download and manufacture guns without serial numbers, which Veith said bypasses “the background check system that keeps us all safe and making them impossible to trace when used in crimes.”

The legislation would also require all unfinished receivers to be serialized like other guns.

“Basically, a firearm isn’t a firearm until it has a receiver that’s put together and that’s finished,” Lopez explained. “And the problem is that people can buy an unfinished receiver with just credit card information.”

Lopez said she bought an unfinished receiver for an AR-15 online with her credit card and shipping address. 

“It didn’t need to know my real name, it didn’t need to know my age, any type of criminal history, and with, you know, probably like a good hour and a half, two hours of equipment, I could have a very powerful firearm,” she said.

The organization also urged lawmakers to overturn Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s 2020 veto of a bill that would require the sale, rental or transfer of all guns to be handled through an arms dealer who would perform a background check on the individual looking to buy or rent. 

The organization has had over 1,700 supporters sign a petition calling for lawmakers to reverse the governor’s decision.

“It’s so unfortunate that the governor vetoed the bill we did together ― and I say we because senator Lee and I could absolutely not have done this without you,” Atterbeary, the House sponsor of the bill, told almost 300 moms over Zoom.

House Judiciary Chairman Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) expressed confidence that the veto will be overridden.   

“We will do it,” he said.

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Moms Demand Action Backs Police Reform Legislation, Calls For Tighter Purchasing Restrictions