Md. Gun Applications Boom As Stricter Laws Loom

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Bui Linh 370x278 XL (2) Linh Bui
Linh Bui joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2013 as a weekend anchor...
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GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ)—Maryland will soon have some of the strictest gun laws in the country, which means gun owners have been rushing out to get their firearms now.

Linh Bui explains this spike in gun sales.

Maryland’s gun laws were already strict. But soon, they’ll be about the toughest in the country.

It’s another busy day at Bart’s Sports World in Glen Burnie.

People are rushing in to load up on firearms.

“I own several other guns. So I’m just looking to expand my collection while there’s still time,” said Greg Spencer, gun owner.

Time is ticking. The Firearms Safety Act takes effect Oct. 1.

It bans assault weapons purchases, puts a 10-round limit on magazines and requires fingerprinting, firearms training and licensing and renewal fees.

As that deadline approaches, gun sales have shot up.

“Business in 2013 has been phenomenal. It is probably double what we did last year,” Al Koch, Bart’s Sports World.

Also very busy? Maryland State Police.

“We’re looking at unprecedented numbers for these applications,” said Sergeant Marc Black, Maryland State Police.

In 2011, there were 46,000 gun applications in Maryland. In 2012, that number rose to 70,000.

And so far this year, the state has already gotten 85,000 applications.

Officials are only halfway through this year’s applications. As of Aug. 31, they’ve processed about 47,000.

Authorities also say the rash of shootings in Baltimore this summer contributed to the spike in gun applications.

“Right now, the licensing division is working 21 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ve increased our manpower; we went from 38 personnel there to now 73,” Black said.

Meantime, at Bart’s Sports World, managers say the surge in customers won’t last.

“We think business is going to come to a screeching halt Oct. 1,” Koch said.

To help process those applications, Maryland State Police have more computers coming in and have 60 temporary workers.

Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed the bill in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

A gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

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