Maryland’s new gun-control laws have certainly stimulated one part of the state’s lackluster economy: Over the last two weeks, the Old Line State has seen over 1,000 gun purchases a day. So far this year, Marylanders have submitted 102,000 applications to buy guns, which is 30,000 more than in 2012 and more than double the total from 2011.
The rush to grab a gun before the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 goes into effect next week has managed to overwhelm the Maryland State Police background-check system. With the rate of gun purchases more than seven times higher than it was at this point in 2012, some checks are taking more than two months to process and there’s a backlog of 49,745 applications, up from 38,000 just a month ago. Since the beginning of September, the state devoted a special team of data-entry workers and reassigned law-enforcement officers to help with processing.
When the law goes into effect next week, Marylanders who wish to purchase a handgun must submit a set of fingerprints and wait a month to acquire a license. Forty-five different types of so-called “assault weapons” will be banned from sale, and handgun magazines will be limited to ten rounds.