press

Brady Urges the Maryland Senate to Protect Children from Unsafely Accessing Firearms

This bill, sponsored by Maryland State Senator William Smith, would protect Maryland youth from incidents of family fire

Washington, D.C., February 12, 2021 - Brady calls on the Maryland Senate to pass SB 479 to improve Maryland’s existing child access prevention law and protect more minors from accessing firearms unsupervised. This bill prohibits a person from storing firearms where they know or should have known minors could access them. SB 479 will prevent incidents in which a minor gains access to a firearm and causes harm to themself or another individual, curbing incidents of family fire - shootings involving an improperly stored or misused gun in the home that ends in death or injury.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing for SB 479 yesterday. Brady urges the Committee to favorably report the legislation and for the full senate to approve this bill.

Brady Senior Manager of State Policy Kelsey Rogers shared:

“The Judicial Proceedings Committee and Maryland Senate must pass SB 479. This bill will save childrens’ lives and prevent them from accessing guns without proper supervision. More than 4 million children live in homes with access to unlocked and loaded firearms nationwide. In fact, a study showed one in five parents who said their children had never handled a gun without supervision were contradicted by their children. All Marylanders and all Americans can agree that we want to prevent unintentional shootings and keep firearms out of the hands of minors. This is a common-sense bill.

We applaud Senator Smith for stewarding this bill to ensure that families practice safe storage for all guns. We owe it to the next generation to protect them from unsafe environments and ensure they can lead long, healthy and safe lives free from the threat of gun violence, especially in their own homes. The Maryland Senate must pass SB 479. Our children's lives are at stake.”

In written testimony to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Brady Research Associate Sophia Young shared:

“This proposed law does not infringe upon an individual’s Second Amendment right — rather, firearm ownership comes with a responsibility to ensure that lethal weapons are not readily accessible to minors who either cannot yet responsibly handle firearms themselves or who are at risk of harming themselves or others. Research clearly shows that robust child access prevention and safe storage laws help protect children and reduce the risk of firearm suicide and unintentional shootings by kids and teens in homes across America.

Brady urges the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to vote in favor of SB 479.”

Other Gun Violence Prevention Bills Before the Maryland Legislature:

HB 638/SB 624 - Sponsored by Delegate Lopez and Senator Lee, HB 638/SB 624 regulates “ghost guns,” which are untraceable and unserialized firearms, as well as ghost gun kits and parts. It includes a grandfathering clause for currently owned ghost guns that are serialized prior to 2022.

HB 450/SB 010 - Sponsored by DelegateHenson and Senators Waldstreicher and Ferguson, HB 450/SB 010 prohibits an individual from carrying or displaying a firearm at the location of a privately or publicly owned building in use as a polling location during an election. The bill also makes it unlawful to possess a firearm within 100 feet of a polling location during an election.

About Family Fire

Family fire is a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun in the home that results in death or injury. Every day, 8 children and teens are unintentionally injured or killed due to an unlocked or unsupervised gun in the home. 63 people a day die by gun suicide. When someone attempts suicide with a gun, they rarely get a second chance to live a full life. Unintentional shootings, suicide, and intentional shootings are all forms of family fire.

Fast Facts About Family Fire:

  • 4.6 million children live in homes with access to an unlocked or unsupervised gun

  • Over 70% of kids know where that gun is stored in their home

  • One study showed that 1 in 5 parents who said their child never handled guns without supervision were contradicted by their child’s reports

  • Access to guns in the home increases the risk of suicide by 300%.

  • 75% of school shootings are facilitated by kids having access to unsecured and/or unsupervised guns at home.

For more information: https://www.bradyunited.org/program/end-family-fire

###

Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


Back to Press Releases
Related Posts