Defensive Action Needed To Block Maryland Weapon Free Higher Education Zones Bill: HB159

It appears that once again, our Democratic representatives in Annapolis are hard at work following the party mindset and ignoring our 2nd Amendment. I first became aware of this initiative via the following National Rifle Association notice:
NRA ILA Email WRT House Bill 159 Maryland: House Committee to Hear Anti-Self-Defense Bill Next Week

on Tuesday, January 31 at 1:00pm, the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hear anti-gun legislation revived after failing last year in the Senate.

House Bill 159, sponsored by Delegate Ben Barnes, would ban the possession or carrying of firearms on college campuses. Those with wear and carry permits do not present a threat to public safety, as they are one of the most law abiding segments of the population. Current law already allows each university to set its own policy regarding the carrying or possession of firearms. This legislation is a blanket prohibition that disallows schools from using discretion on their campus.

Not only does this legislation attempt to dictate the rules that universities must abide by, it also imposes extreme penalties, including fines, up to 3 years in prison, as well as the potential loss of your Second Amendment rights. A simple mistake in transiting a college campus could lead to the lifetime loss of a Constitutional right. Maryland citizens who are otherwise authorized to carry a firearm for self-defense will be prohibited from doing so and must make the choice between defending their lives and risking the loss of their firearms rights entirely in order to attend classes or events on campus.

An Ammoland article had this to say: “MD Delegate Ben Barnes is trying for a second bite at the apple with his attempt to make Maryland college property part of the infamous “Gun Free Zones” with House Bill 159, euphemistically titled “Weapon-Free Higher Education Zones”. This is a modification of the similar bill he introduced last year, which a “Conference Committee” tried to get rammed through the Senate in the waning hours of Sine Die.

The 2A community rallied last year to get the word out on very short notice, and helped in preventing this misguided bill being passed. The hearing will take place in a different committee in the House than normal firearms/crime-related bills.

Even though this bill has significant ramifications for the criminal statutes in Maryland, the House leadership has, again this year, decided to have a crime bill heard in the Appropriations Committee. This bill imposes strict penalties, applies to more than just the grounds of a “campus“, and could cause an individual to lose a Constitutionally-protected right for life over a potentially simple mistake.”

On Monday, I contacted Delegate Adrienne Jones to voice my concerns and urge her to vote against House Bill 159 as follows:

To: Jones, Adrienne Delegate <Adrienne.Jones@house.state.md.us>
Subject: Oppose Anti-Self-Defense Legislation, House Bill 159

Dear Delegate Adrienne Jones:

As your constituent, I respectfully urge you to oppose House Bill 159 when it comes up for a vote.

HB 159 would ban the possession or carrying of firearms on college campuses. Those with wear and carry permits do not present a threat to public safety, as they are one of the most law abiding segments of the population. Current law already allows each university to set its own policy regarding the carrying or possession of firearms. This legislation is a blanket prohibition that disallows schools from using discretion on their campus.

Not only does this legislation attempt to dictate the rules that universities must abide by, it also imposes extreme penalties, including fines, up to 3 years in prison, as well as the potential loss of your Second Amendment rights. A simple mistake in transiting a college campus could lead to the lifetime loss of a Constitutional right. Maryland citizens who are otherwise authorized to carry a firearm for self-defense will be prohibited from doing so and must make the choice between defending their lives and risking the loss of their firearms rights entirely in order to attend classes or events on campus.

Again, as your constituent, I urge you to oppose House Bill 159.

Sincerely,
Robert Frey

In typical fashion, I received the following canned reply:
Dear Mr. Frey,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding HB 159 – Weapon-Free Higher Education Zones.

Please be advised that HB 159 passed out favorably from the Appropriation Committee, of which I am a member, and will be scheduled to be voted on before the full House of Delegates.

You forwarded some very useful information on this issue. I will keep in mind the points you have outlined, prior to casting my vote.

In the meantime, if I can be of any assistance to you in any other way, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Delegate Adrienne Jones
Speaker Pro Tem
Maryland House of Delegates
410-841-3391 (Annapolis)
410-655-3090 (District Office)
If you are concerned about our self-defense rights and feel betrayed by our Maryland representatives as I do, please contact Ms. Jones and express your concerns.

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