By: Robert Davis

During “Gun Day” testimony before Maryland’s House of Delegates Judiciary Committee last week, five sheriffs took the floor to tell legislators they will not comply with the gun control bills circulating in the state legislature, should they become law.

“We are sick and tired of being punished for Baltimore City’s inability to control crime,” Wicomico County Sheriff Michael Lewis told community members gathered in the overflow room. “And my argument to them will be, we will not comply.”

The hearings featured a two-minute testimony on the 16 bills currently circulating through the state legislature from such anti-gun groups as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

Other attendants wore white shirts with “We Will Not Comply” written on them.
Some bills seek to require new qualification licensure to purchase weapons, while others aim to create storage requirements and prohibit ownership of 3D printed guns.

House Bill 786 would regulate hunting rifles and shotguns as if they were handguns. It would also require purchasers to acquire a long gun qualification license before purchasing the weapon. Afterward, there would be a 7-day waiting period before anyone could receive his or her weapon, and only one weapon could be purchased within a 30-day period.

According to analysis by the Capital Gazette, this bill would cost Maryland about $34 million in fiscal year 2020, as the Department of State Police would be tasked with creating new systems to track licenses.

House Bill 468 would add storage requirements for unloaded weapons. Under the current law, weapons must be inaccessible to unsupervised children.

House Bill 367 would prohibit local school districts from sending money, directly or indirectly, to arm teachers or pay for firearms training. This bill was cross-filed with Senate Bill 536.

The sheriffs thanked supporters for taking their time to testify against these bills. They also added that there are more sheriffs in Maryland who will stand behind their pledge not to comply with the gun control bills. The other sheriffs plan on testifying throughout the legislative session as well.

“Just know your presence here is appreciated,” Lewis said. “Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule, leaving your significant others at home, to come down and stand up for your inalienable rights.”

Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips or comments at or on Twitter @Davisonthebeat.