Legislators aim to reduce gun violence through firearm licensing


ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — On June 13, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Jamie Raskin introduced the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act. The bill aims to incentivize state and local governments to implement a process, so that individuals would first need to obtain a license before purchasing a handgun.

“Essentially, if a state does adopt a permitting or licensing plan for handguns,” said Raskin, “they would be able to obtain funds from the federal government for the implementation and design of the program.”

The introduction of this bill follows a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, which states that “the process to apply for and obtain a license can delay the impulsive acquisition of a firearm.”

“So when you implement one of these systems, you end up saving a lot of lives because you take guns out of people who shouldn’t have them,” said Raskin.

However, Art Thomm, state director for the NRA, argues that criminals won’t bother with such requirements, especially if they’re not bothered with committing murder.

“These people are not worried about – you know – breaking that law. Breaking one more doesn’t seem like that’s going to be something they’re going to be too much concerned about,” said Thomm.

Maryland already has a similar process set up, but Raskin says that the Old Line State is seeing illegal guns coming in from surrounding states.

“So this is why we want to try to incentivize states to around the country to adopt laws like this,” said Raskin.

Now if this bill passes in the judiciary committee that Raskin is a part of, it would then face the House floor; however, Thomm says that similar bills haven’t survived on a federal level.

“I certainly that catching enough traction, even in the House, certainly not in the Senate,” said Thomm, “and then I would expect the president would veto anything like that that would come across his desk.”

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy as well as Congresswoman Jahana Hayes of Connecticut also introduced the bill.

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