Government and Politics Sports and Recreation

Maryland Loosens Hunting and Gun Laws

hunter in the forest
Marylanders love to hunt, which is why the news of two new laws may be welcome tidings.

More than 38 million Americans hunt and fish. In fact, more Americans hunt and shoot than play golf. In Maryland specifically, 88,000 residents and non-residents spend 1,032,000 days hunting between them, with the average hunter spending $2,815 on his or her trip, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a total of $264,119,000 in expenditures.

As hunting brings in such a staggering amount of income to Maryland’s economy, many see Governor Larry Hogan’s signing of Senate Bill 736 and Senate Bill 88 into law as a big win.

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action reports SB 736, sponsored by state Senator Edward Reilly, eliminates the database and ballistic fingerprint system from Maryland’s state law.

SB 88, sponsored by state Senator John C. Astle, and its companion bill, House Bill 170, which is sponsored by Delegate Wendell R. Beitzel, repeals Maryland’s previous laws in regards to baiting, and conforms Maryland’s law to Federal law. It requires hunters to know or reasonably know that the area they’re in is a baited area.

Although these new laws may not seem to do much, they ultimately take pressure off of firearm manufacturers, and relax some of the regulations on hunting, thus making the Old Line State more amenable to hunting just as the season for the majority of animals comes to an end.

Those hungry to get back out there, though, will be pleased to hear that the new hunting season is only just a few months away. Some animals, such as crow, can be hunted as early as August, while the vast majority of other animals can be hunted beginning in September.

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