The report, titled "2013 Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter," ranks Maryland with an A-, joining New Jersey, Connecticut and California with that letter grade. The top-five scoring states are: No. 1 California, No. 2 Connecticut, No. 3 New Jersey, No. 4 New York and Massachusetts in fifth place.
In 2013, the Maryland legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. The new law: strengthens the assault weapon ban, bans large capacity ammunition magazines, provides a mechanism to remove firearms from unstable individuals, regulates ammunition possession, requires a handgun license, requires registration for new residents, and requires lost or stolen firearm reporting, the study says.
Neighboring Virginia received a D, while Delaware earned a B- by the study, whose results were released Monday.
Vincent DeMarco, president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, told the Baltimore Sun that passage of the new law puts Maryland in the top ranks of gun-restricting states. He said the new licensing and fingerprinting requirement was the main reason Maryland moved into the top ranks from its spot at No. 7 last year.
The National Rifle Association is backing a federal lawsuit brought by individuals and groups opposed to the law, which they regard as an infringement on Second Amendment rights, the Sun says. The law passed the General Assembly in the spring despite massive protests against the legislation by gun rights advocates."Seven states with the highest grades also have the lowest gun death rates nationwide. Conversely, many states with the weakest gun laws have the highest gun death rates," the report states in its opening section. "While more research is needed to determine the precise relationship, it is clear that the data supports the conclusion that state gun laws and the rate of gun deaths are closely tied."
The report lauded states for taking action when Congress failed to enact meaningful gun-law reform in April, despite a strong push from the Obama Administration after the the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
"Starting last January, legislators in state houses across the country began introducing a record number of bills to strengthen gun laws. Even states with historically weak gun laws, like Florida, Missouri, and Texas, took action towards sensible gun legislation," the report states. "In fact, twenty-one states enacted new laws to curb gun violence in their communities, with eight of these states passing major reforms—far eclipsing the corporate gun lobby’s limited success in state legislatures in 2013."
Check out the full report by clicking above, or visit smartgunlaws.org.