LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — Maryland’s new gun control laws will take effect on October 1, and Maryland State Police are working feverishly to process the flood of gun purchase applications that have come in so far this year.
The gun control measure, signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley in May, bans 45 types of assault weapons, limits gun magazines to 10 bullets and bans gun ownership by people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
One of the most contentious parts of the bill is a licensing requirement for handgun buyers to submit fingerprints to state police. The provision is intended to reduce the number of guns purchased by a friend or family member of someone who is not allowed to own a gun.
Maryland State Police say 85,141 gun purchase applications have been submitted to them so far this year. That’s up significantly from 2012, when 70,099 applications came in, and 2011, when just 46,339 applications were submitted.
And dealing with the surge has not been a cakewalk. As of August 31, just 46,942 of the 85,141 applications, or about 55 percent of them, had been processed.
Maryland State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo says personnel conducting firearm purchase applications clocked 24,000 overtime hours between August 2012 and August 2013.
And, in August 2012, 38 employees were assigned to the gun licensing division. As of this August, that number is up to 73, according to Russo.
O’Malley, a Democrat, proposed the gun control bill in January in response to the December shooting in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.
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