County Police Chief Joins Call For Stricter Gun Laws

Baltimore County Police Chief Jim JohnsonThursday joined with other law enforcement agencies in calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting in Aurora, CO.

The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, during a news conference in Washington DC, called for expanded background checks and a ban on the purchase of high-capacity ammunition magazines, according to a statement released by the Baltimore County Police Department.

Johnson is the incoming chairman for the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence.

Cpl. Cathy Batton, a police spokeswoman, said Johnson was unavailable due to scheduled meetings over the next two days.

In prepared comments released by the department, Johnson said background checks should be expanded to include non-dealer sales. (The full text of Johnson’s statement are attached to this article.)

“This is not complicated,” Johnson said in the prepared remarks. “If background checks are expanded to non-dealer sales, the buyer would go through the same check and the same system that already exists. The buyer and seller would simply go through a licensed dealer, who would collect a small fee to conduct the background check. No new system needs to be created and no undue burdens will be placed on anyone.”

Johnson said the background checks would “stop more crime, prevent more tragedy and increase public safety.”

Maryland currently requires a background check and a seven day waiting period on handgun purchases.

Maryland law also requires that an individual who wishes to sell a weapon to another individual must do so either through the Maryland State Police or a licensed gun dealer.

The dealer may charge a $20 fee for the transaction and the waiting period and background checks apply.

Earlier this week, a federal judge lifted a stay on a ruling that struck down a requirement for individuals to show “a good or substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.”

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