A lot of people bought guns in Maryland last year — 117,009 applications to purchase a firearm were filed in the first nine months of the year, according to the Baltimore Sun; that’s more than all the guns purchased in the two previous years combined. Feel safe yet? Well, this should make you feel even better: in the rush to get a gun before the state’s tougher law took effect, the background check system got overwhelmed — and hundreds of guns were sold to people who are legally barred from owning firearms.
This story isn’t new; the Sun first reported on it last year. Back then, though, everyone thought it was just a matter of two dozen guns. In the ensuing months, state police have announced that it’s actually more like 200 guns. And one of those has already been used to commit a crime.
There’s plenty of blame to spread around here. So many people applied for guns before the new law went into effect that Maryland State Police couldn’t process the background checks within the normal weeklong period. Some firearms dealers went ahead and gave the guns to their customers after a week passed, even if the background check didn’t happen — something they’re allowed to do under state law.
State police still have a significant backlog of applications — more than 30,000, the Sun reports. Who knows how many more problematic cases they’ll find in those piles of paper… stay tuned.
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