Marylanders Busy Buying Guns Before New Law Takes Effect

With Maryland’s strict new gun-control law set to take effect Tuesday, Randy Mattoon was among a crush of customers who came early Monday to Pasadena Pawn and Gun, where a sign outside advertised it was the “last day” to buy many assault rifles.
October 1, 2013

With Maryland’s strict new gun-control law set to take effect Tuesday, Randy Mattoon was among a crush of customers who came early Monday to Pasadena Pawn and Gun, where a sign outside advertised it was the “last day” to buy many assault rifles.

“I need something to protect my house, so I thought I’d better get it now,” said Mattoon, a 53-year-old steam fitter, as he surveyed a display case of handguns. “It ain’t cheap, but I need to take care of my family.”

Monday was the last day Marylanders could purchase handguns without being subject to new fingerprinting and training requirements. The new law, championed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings in December, also bans 45 types of assault rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and includes steps intended to make it harder for those who are mentally ill to obtain firearms.

Maryland’s response to Newtown — which has prompted an unprecedented run on gun purchases in recent months — is one of more than 300 new laws that take effect Tuesday.

Debate over the gun law has continued long after O’Malley signed the bill into law in May. On Tuesday, gun rights advocates will make a last-ditch attempt to convince a federal judge that parts of the law violate the Constitution and should be put on hold.

As of Monday, the Maryland State Police reported receiving more than 106,000 gun-purchase applications this year submitted before the new law takes effect. That’s up from 70,099 for all of last year and 46,339 the year before.

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