U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh are calling on other states to join Maryland in requiring licenses to purchase handguns, saying the rule works best to stem gun violence when it applies across jurisdictions, reports the Washington Post. The officials said firearms tend to flow from states that lack permit-to-purchase laws to those that have them, with guns often landing in the hands of criminals. Ten states and the District of Columbia have licensing requirements for handguns, but the Maryland border states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia do not.
Van Hollen has introduced legislation that would provide financial incentives for states to adopt purchasing laws similar to the one that Maryland enacted in 2013, which requires fingerprinting and licensing. Frosh pointed to “clear evidence” that such gun-control laws have decreased firearm-related deaths where they are enacted. He pointed to studies from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, which found that gun-related homicides dropped by 40 percent over 10 years in Connecticut after the state adopted a permit-to-purchase law in 1995, whereas Missouri's numbers increased by 25 percent after the state repealed a similar statute in 2007. Jenifer Pauliukonis of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence said Maryland's statute should serve as a model for states. “The country deserves more than a couple of states having common-sense gun laws,” she said.