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A federal court ruling changes how the President is elected, and Florida Democrats trigger a special session vote on guns. Those stories and more in today's news.

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MD Loosens Gun Permit Restrictions, Despite Recent Mass Shootings

Maryland's decision to loosen restrictions on some gun permits runs counter to some of the state's other firearms laws. (Adobe stock)
Maryland's decision to loosen restrictions on some gun permits runs counter to some of the state's other firearms laws. (Adobe stock)
August 9, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland State Police announced this week that the state has lifted restrictions on concealed carry gun permits for business owners.

The restriction had limited business owners to carrying handguns only when on the job, or traveling to or from work.

With the policy change, they will now be able to switch to unrestricted permits that allow them to carry handguns at all times.

Liz Banach, director of the group Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, says she's outraged at the timing of the new policy, as the nation reels from two mass shootings just days ago that left more than 30 people dead.

"Not only is it the wrong policy – it's right in the aftermath of these two mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton,” she states. “To be doing this now is both tone deaf and the wrong way to approach the issue of gun violence prevention."

Backers of the change say business owners should be able to protect their workers and property.

Banach counters research indicates the more permissive policy could lead to more violence and unintentional shootings.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave Maryland a grade of A-minus for its gun laws last year, ranking the state the fourth-strongest in the country.

Banach maintains Gov. Larry Hogan is undermining state gun-control efforts by staffing the Handgun Permit Review Board with National Rifle Association supporters, whom she says are more lenient in granting permits.

The governor, a Republican, also seems to be aligning on gun rights with the Trump administration, which has eased gun restrictions and reversed an Obama-era regulation that restricted gun purchases for people with some types of mental impairment.

"Gov. Hogan right now has the ability to stand up against that and say that's wrong,” Banach states. “And instead of doing that, his Maryland State Police are eroding and loosening our standards."

In 2017, Maryland had 742 firearm-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the 2019 legislative session, the General Assembly advanced its gun control laws by banning bump stocks and other rapid-fire trigger activators.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - MD