Gun Rights Advocates Rally in Annapolis
ANNAPOLIS — About 200 gun rights advocates, many wearing “Guns Save Lives” stickers, rallied on Lawyers’ Mall and met state lawmakers Tuesday.
The 2A Tuesday rally, organized by the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, Maryland Shall Issue, the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore Inc. and the Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Association, included speeches by activists and legislators in favor of expanding the right to bear arms in Maryland. Among other priorities, advocates want the General Assembly to repeal the Maryland Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which banned many assault weapons and tightened eligibility restrictions for permits.
“We’re out here to introduce the new legislators to our community,” said Shannon Alford, an NRA-ILA state liaison.
Alford also called for a repeal of Maryland’s already-defunded ballistics imaging law, which requires gun retailers to send state police spent shell casings from each weapon sold.
–By Nate Rabner
Bill Could Force Mentally Disabled Patients to Weigh Past Against Present
For seventy-two hours, mentally disabled patients may be forced to live in the past.
A bill presented to the State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Tuesday would require patients in a state of mental distress to receive treatment according to their own predetermined requests, regardless of current wishes or demands.
Only after a three-day period would patients be reassessed by two doctors to determine whether they are again capable of making an informed decision, the bill proposes.
The decisions individuals make while in a stable state of mind should be honored without interference, said state Senator Delores Kelley, D-Baltimore County, the sponsor of the bill.
“This bill provides continuity of care,” she said.
But opponents argue that the bill is discriminatory, as the same considerations do not apply to patients with physical disorders.
“This bill is a drastic and unnecessary change to due process protections. Individual liberty is at stake,” said Brad Hersey, an assistant public defender at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. “It keeps people behind a curtain when the best thing for patients is to be seen and heard.”
The Mental Health Association of Maryland usually agrees with Kelley’s views, said director Kim Burton, but not in this case.
“Advance directives empower patients and facilitate communication between individuals and their families and health providers,” said Burton. “They are already a hard sell because of barriers, and this bill is one.”
–By Deidre McPhillips