Below is a summary from the Auditor’s office regarding the ‘Secure All Firearms Effectively (SAFE) Act, which will be a subject at the Work Session which will take place on Tuesday January 14th, at 2pm. While the safety of the public is always paramount, I have significant concerns regarding the unintended effects that this bill will have on existing businesses. Please consider attending and provide testimony. If you cannot make the hearing, you can email the entire County Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Auditor’s Office:
Bill 72-19, also known as the Secure All Firearms Effectively (SAFE) Act, proposes new requirements for firearm retail establishments in Baltimore County to install appropriate security measures to protect their inventory from theft. See Exhibit A.
Specifically, the bill creates a new County license that will be required prior to storing firearms inventory in a firearm retail establishment, if the store is located inside or within 100 yards of a park, house of worship, school, public building, or other place of public assembly. A license will also be required for temporary gun shows that are held within the same areas. In order to obtain a license, retailers and gun shows must implement a Baltimore County Police Department-approved safety plan. For gun shows, the plan must include an alarm system, video surveillance, and live security guard coverage. For a retailer, the premises must be monitored at all times by an alarm system and a video system and include the following physical security elements:
Bollards or another physical barrier to prevent vehicle intrusion into the building;
Security gates or security screens over windows;
Either security gates or security screens over doors, or a secure vestibule for doors;
and A safe, secure room, secured cage, or security shutters where all firearms must be stored when the business is closed.
As an alternative to these safety plan requirements, the Chief of Police can approve another combination of physical security elements that provide an adequate level of protection. The Chief of Police is also the County official in charge of enforcement, which may include posting officers or security guards at the retailer or gun show and instituting a court action to compel compliance with the law’s security provisions.
Maryland law generally preempts the ability of local jurisdictions to regulate firearms or ammunition. However, an exception to the general rule authorizes local jurisdictions to regulate the purchase, sale, transfer, ownership, possession, and transportation of (1) a handgun, a rifle, or shotgun; and (2) ammunition for and components of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun within 100 yards of or in a park, church, school, public building, and other place of public assembly. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-209. “Place of public assembly” means a location used for a gathering of 50 or more persons for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, shopping, awaiting transportation or similar uses. According to the Administration, all but one of the 19 Baltimore County firearm retail establishments are located within these areas….
For more on this bill from the audit office, click http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Auditor/fiscal%20notes%202020/webnotes012120.pdf