Business, Politics

Councilman Marks: Eliminate fees, exempt FreeState Gun Range in gun security bill

UPDATE: Councilman Marks was successful in his efforts to eliminate fees from the gun bill.

Original story below…

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NOTTINGHAM, MD—Baltimore County Councilman David Marks announced on Monday that he would support amending the proposed gun safety legislation sponsored by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski to eliminate new fees and exempt places such as the FreeState Gun Range in Middle River.

The bill sought by the Olszewski administration requires stronger security measures at gun shops and temporary gun shows to protect firearms from potential burglaries. Many retailers, however, already have extensive security requirements in place.

As an example, the FreeState Gun Range in Middle River was the target of an armed carjacking in 2018 in which a suspect attempted to drive the vehicle through the building’s storefront to gain access to guns. Suspects shot through the windows, but were unable to gain access. FreeState Gun Range is included in the bill because the administration considers this location a “place of assembly,” even though it is nowhere near a traditional place of assembly such as a school, according to Councilman Marks.

“Free State Range is a model for gun security, and they should not be included in this bill,” said Councilman Marks. “Furthermore, it is ridiculous for a business to be considered as its own place of assembly. It’s overreach and the County Council should amend the legislation.”

Councilman Marks said he could also support eliminating all fees from the bill, and requiring financial assistance for those affected by the bill.

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“Retailers do not need to be burdened with a new ‘gun tax’ that imperils their livelihood and will be passed along to consumers,” Councilman Marks concluded.

Councilman Marks supports other amendments that better define what is meant by a “gun show”; exempt antique firearms retailers; establish a one-year term for a license; requires the Chief of Police to approve or deny a security plan within 30 days; clarifies that a person promoting a gun show is responsible for having an approved security plan; requires a 45-day decision by the Board of Appeals if a security plan is rejected by the Chief of Police; and removes the provision that allows the Chief of Police to pass the cost of posing officers or guards at a non-compliant premises to the owner of the premises.

Councilman Marks met with every affected retailer over the Christmas break, and has extensively spoken with gun advocates as well as supporters of the legislation.

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