Maryland's New Laws

Maryland’s New Laws: Gun Control Measures and Justice for Abuse Victims

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Maryland is set to implement a series of new laws on October 1st, covering a range of issues from gun control to justice for abuse victims. These laws reflect both state lawmakers’ responses to a significant Supreme Court ruling and the evolving landscape of civil rights and public safety. In this article, we’ll delve into the key changes that Maryland residents can expect to see.

CONCEALED CARRY-RESTRICTED AREAS

While Maryland removed the “good and substantial reason” requirement for concealed carry permits due to a Supreme Court ruling, new restrictions are being introduced to address safety concerns. These changes prohibit individuals from carrying concealed handguns in specific areas, such as places catering to children or vulnerable adults, including schools and healthcare facilities. Furthermore, carrying a firearm in government or public infrastructure areas and special purpose areas (e.g., establishments licensed to sell alcohol, cannabis, stadiums, museums, racetracks, or casinos) is also prohibited. Despite legal challenges from gun rights advocates, these restrictions are set to take effect.

GUN LICENSING

Another significant change relates to the issuance and renewal of handgun permits. The law raises the age for qualifying for a handgun permit from 18 to 21, aligning with recent developments in other parts of the country. Additionally, individuals on supervised probation for certain crimes, those convicted of impaired driving, and violators of protective orders are ineligible for permits. The law also restricts individuals with a history of violent behavior due to mental illness from carrying firearms, as well as those involuntarily admitted to mental health facilities for more than 30 days.

JAELYNN’S LAW

In honor of Jaelynn Willey, a 16-year-old who tragically lost her life in a school shooting, Maryland has enacted Jaelynn’s Law. This law mandates stricter storage requirements for firearms, prohibiting the storage of loaded firearms in locations where unsupervised minors can access them. The aim is to prevent tragedies like the one that claimed Jaelynn’s life.

CHILD SEX ABUSE-LAWSUITS

Maryland is taking a monumental step in addressing child sexual abuse by eliminating the state’s statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits against institutions. This change allows victims to seek justice in court, even decades after the abuse occurred. Notably, a provision in the law delays lawsuits until the Maryland Supreme Court can rule on their constitutionality, should they be challenged.

POLICE PROSECUTIONS

Maryland’s attorney general will gain independent authority to bring criminal charges against police officers following investigations into deaths involving officers. This expansion of police accountability measures builds upon reforms initiated in response to concerns raised after the tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota in 2020.

HATE CRIMES-CIVIL REMEDIES

Victims of acts that would constitute a violation of Maryland’s hate crime laws will now have the option to bring civil actions against the perpetrators. This provision aims to empower victims to seek justice and restitution in civil court.

FENTANYL TESTING

In a move aimed at improving public health, hospitals will be required to include fentanyl testing as part of drug screenings when diagnosing a person’s condition. This will help identify cases involving the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, which has been a significant contributor to the opioid epidemic.

SPOUSAL RAPE

Maryland is repealing an exemption from prosecution for specific sexual crimes that applied when the alleged perpetrator was the victim’s legal spouse. This change closes a legal loophole and ensures that individuals can face appropriate legal consequences for their actions.

As these Maryland New laws take effect, Maryland continues to evolve its legal framework to address critical issues such as public safety, civil rights, and justice for victims. These changes reflect the state’s commitment to adapt to new challenges while upholding its core values.

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