Constituents demanded answers from State Sen. Mary Beth Carozza, (R-38C), about gun control during the state senator's Listening Hours event on Monday, Oct. 28, at the Ocean Pines Community Center. 

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(Nov. 1, 2019) “What is the value you place on life?” Ocean Pines resident Kady Everson demanded of State Sen. Mary Beth Carozza, (R-38C), during her “Listening Hour” forum Monday night at the Ocean Pines Community Center. 

Everson, alongside other residents wearing bright red “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” T-shirts, pressed Carozza on her gun control position. 

“I taught in Baltimore ... and I had to get a full background check and get fingerprinted,” Ocean Pines resident Linda Powers said. “Why shouldn’t gun buyers be held to the same stringent standards?” 

“You bring it up as a general issue, but I look at specific proposals and listen to every cross section,” Carozza responded. “This area is strongly Second Amendment, and my obligation is to weigh the feedback from all of my constituents.” 

Her answer did not seem to satisfy Everson or Powers. 

“Schools are no longer safe, and that is because of the easy access to guns,” Powers said. “[What] we want is not to take the Second Amendment away, but to have someone who wants a gun to get a stringent background check.” 

The state of Maryland has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, but does have some loopholes.

In Maryland, gun buyers must get background checks for any type of gun he or she purchases, although long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, can be purchased at gun shows or from family members, sans background checks. 

“I want to see all the loopholes closed,” Powers said. “Maryland is setting the stage [for gun control], but it needs to do more. Schools are doing as much as they can, but the [state] still needs to do more.” 

The state senator said she would look at specific proposals, but could not say if she would or would not support future legislation. 

“I am not here to focus on guns; I’m taking a broader approach,” Carozza said. “I’m not going to use today’s forum to lock in on an issue.”

The state senator also said she needed to refresh herself on the issue, and could not give the constituents a firm position. 

“You voted no on last year’s loophole bill,” Everson said, noting that future legislation would be similar to last year’s. 

Everson is referring to House Bill 786, which was spearheaded by Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, (D-13th). 

If it had passed, the bill would have required Maryland residents to obtain a long gun qualification license, as they are required to do when purchasing handguns. 

Additionally, residents would only be allowed to buy one long gun within a 30-day period, and abide to a seven-day waiting period upon purchasing the gun. 

The measure died on April 8 and Democratic legislators plan to bring the bill back during the 2020 General Assembly session. 

Carozza told the gun control advocates that she would address the issue later in Annapolis. 

“Going forward, we would like to find common ground with our legislators in order to keep our community safe,” Everson said.

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