New laws including gun restrictions start in Maryland October 1

On October 1, 2013 several new laws will go into effect in Maryland including strict handgun regulations, driving regulations and marijuana. Photo: Gun store/ AP

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2013 — Ready or not Maryland, the second round of laws that were passed last year go into effect next Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

The new laws will change how people drive in the state, demands employers can put on pregnant employees, the rules of owning a firearm and marijuana.

Firearm restrictions:

None of the new laws have been as controversial as SB 281, the bill which brings some of the toughest firearm legislation in the country to the state of Maryland.

Firearm Safety Act 2013 banns 45 different semi-automatic handguns and rifles from sale and ownership in the state. Some examples of firearms that will no longer be permitted for sale either publically or privately after October 1 are the AR-15, AK-47 and the M1A.

The law also reduces the detachable magazine capacity that can be “manufactured, sold, purchased, received or transferred” in the state from 20 down to 10.

Hunting rifles and shotguns are not affected by the 2013 law, but handguns are.

Only handguns on Maryland’s official handgun resister will be allowed sold in the state and private sales of “regulated firearms” will be illegal.

After the first of October, to purchase or rent a firearm, the recipient must present aHandgun Qualification License certificate, unless exempted due to being a police officer, member of the military or a licensed manufacturer.

In order to obtain a Handgun Qualification License, the applicant will have to take a four hour class which must include; education of the state law, home safety to include locking and storage, handgun operation to include cleaning and maintenance as well as loading and unloading of ammunition and handling demonstration which will include a live fire of no more than 15 yards.

The new law goes on to say that in addition to the class, there will be a $50 registration fee and fingerprints will need to be submitted to assist with the background check that needs to be completed.

Only one firearm can be purchased every 30 days, and every weapon needs to be secured with a safety lock when it is sold or transported with an external lock on firearms manufactured prior to December 31, 2001 and an internal lock in manufactured after that date.

No firearms will be permitted at school or at demonstrations.

Starting October 1, 2013 it will be a misdemeanor if ammunition is owned by an individual who is prohibited from owning a firearm.

Finally, the Firearm Safety Act 2013 will prohibit anyone who has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for 30 consecutive days from legally owning a firearm.

It has been widely reported that there has been such a rush on registering firearms prior to the October 1 implementation of this law that the police department’s licensing division has been unable to process them all.

In the past few weeks, police are averaging 1,000 applications a day.

According to a statement from Maryland State Police, “Marylanders who have submitted handgun purchase applications on or before Sept. 30 will not be required to obtain a handgun qualification license.”

Hand held phone calls:

Driving in Maryland is going to also change next week.

Starting on October 1, holding a cell phone in your hand to talk will become a primary offense. Maryland became a hands free state in 2010 but it was a secondary offense, meaning that a police officer would have to have some other reason to pull you over and then if you were also talking on a hand held phone the driver could be ticketed for that as well. In a few days, the police will need no more motivation to pull a driver over other than seeing them holding a phone while driving.

Motorists who are caught using a handheld phone will face fines of $75 for a first offense and then increasing to $125 and $175 for the second and third offenses.

Seatbelt and child seats:

In an attempt to make driving in Maryland safer, the start of the new fiscal year will bring two additional car safety laws.

Seatbelts will need to be worn by everyone in the car, including adults in the backseat and all children under the age of eight, regardless of weight, who are less than 4ft 9 in. will need to be secured into a child safety seat.

These are both secondary offenses but the tickets can be expensive, up to $50 for each person unrestrained inside the vehicle.

Pregnancy on the job:

Lawmakers in Maryland have declared pregnancy a disability.

According to HB0804, Maryland employers who employ 15 workers or more must make reasonable accommodations to a woman who experiences limitations due to her pregnancy.

This law treats limitations or disabilities occurring from a pregnancy in the same way the American with Disabilities Act handle other disabilities.

If an employee requests a less strenuous position during her pregnancy and it does not cause undue hardship to the employer, the request must be met.

Medical marijuana:

On May 2, 2013, Governor O’Malley signed bill HB1101 into law to create a hospital based medical marijuana program.

Although the law actually goes into effect on October 1, a functioning program is not expected to be up and working until at least 2015.

This program is still in its earliest phase with a commission just appointed last week to try and figure out details ranging from what teaching hospitals should be selected to participate to the growing and distribution process of the drug.

But starting next week, medical marijuana is legal in the state of Maryland.

 


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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.

 

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