Legislation introduced in Maryland by State Delegate Dana Stein would prohibit a person from storing a firearm where a person under 18 years old could gain access. This restriction would also prevent teenagers from hunting alone. Preventing young people from hunting on their own is part of the intent of House Bill 646 because it also deletes language in current law that allows youth who have completed a hunter safety course to access a firearm. HB 636 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it has a hearing scheduled on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. in the House Office Building, Room 100.
Take Action Today! Maryland Sportsmen should contact their state delegates and ask them to vote NO on Maryland House Bill 636. Members can find their legislators by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.
Under current law in Maryland, anyone over the age of 16 that has successfully completed a hunter education course can hunt without supervision and are exempted from laws limiting firearm access. The language in House Bill 646 would delete this exemption and make it illegal for a sportsman under the age of 18 to access a firearm so that they could hunt lawfully in an unsupervised manner.
Currently, hunters who are 13 can complete the Maryland Hunter Education Course and at age 16 are permitted to hunt unsupervised with permission from their parents. Hunting safety among both youth and adults is remarkably safe. By the time youth are 18 years old they likely have more experience safely using a firearm than most people twice their age. Unfortunately, House Bill 636 removes parents from making the decision-making process and criminalizes responsible young sportsmen.
A firearm owner that violates HB 636 could be subject to fines up to $5,000 and imprisonment up to 5 years.
“Maryland sportsmen must take a stand against any and all attempts to limit and criminalize hunting and responsible firearm use,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This bill makes criminals out of responsible parents and the youth who take firearm and hunter safety courses and engage in lawful and long-accepted practices, and it does so with absolutely zero cause or reason.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.