From Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence – can we call Senator Will Smith (Chair of Judicial Proceedings) to urge action? It needs to move to the rules committee so it has a chance. If they get like 15 calls it can make a difference
PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL:
Senator William C. Smith, Jr., Chair (410) 841-3634, (301) 858-3634
“Please move Jaelynn’s Law to the rules committee.”
This is called the CAT bill (child access prevention).
I wanted to reach out to you about a bill in The Maryland General Assembly that would have become law last year had the session not come to an emergency close due to COVID and is now stalled. Jaelynn’s Law (SB 479 and HB 200) was named in honor of Jaelynn Rose Willey who was shot and killed at Great Mills High School by a young man who accessed a firearm that was improperly stored by the adults in his home. Yesterday marked not only crossover, but the third anniversary of Jaelynn’s murder. Jaelynn’s law would have increased the chances that this tragedy was prevented by
1- requiring families to properly secure and store their firearms from children ages 17 and under
2- Added graduated penalties to the law for individuals who do not properly secure their weapons
As noted, the bill made it out of the Senate last year and was on the way to passing, when COVID closed the MGA down. We anticipated an easy passage this year. Our House sponsors (Anne Arundel’s own Delegate Sandy Bartlett and Delegate Dana Stein) have worked tirelessly to get the legislation on a vote list. This isn’t just about Jaelynn’s life. These deaths are far too common. Just a few examples:
In September of 2020, a Baltimore 3-year-old shot himself in the hand when he gained access to an unsecured firearm.
An 8-year-old in Howard County accidentally shot himself in the leg after gaining access to an unsecured firearm in September of 2020.
An 11-year-old boy in Baltimore was injured by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg in September.
17-year-old Edwin Juarez was shot and killed on Christmas Day in Charles County when a 13-year-old friend accidentally discharged the firearm that the teens were handling.
16-year-old Ervin Talley was shot and killed in February by his 17-year-old friend Tresean Parker while they were playing with Parker’s father’s unsecured weapon. Parker is now being charged with manslaughter.
Safe storage of guns is something that even gun owners can agree upon. Our House sponsors are working tirelessly to ensure that the bill moves to the rules committee so there is a chance the bill could still make it out this session. Yesterday’s shooting in Colorado only amplifies the timeliness of ensuring we do all we can to protect the people of Maryland from gun violence. I know that the House sponsor and Willey family (although slightly limited in their ability to speak because of a pending court case against the school who had knowledge of multiple threats the shooter made against their daughter) would be willing to talk about the pressing need for this legislation.