By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Should the private sale or transfer of shotguns and rifles require background checks?

Maryland lawmakers are debating the pros and cons of a bill to require them, and Thursday was the second day of arguments on the floor of the House of Delegates.

Supporters of the bill to require background checks for the transfer of rifles and shotguns packed a house meeting room.

“We unite for this change and together we will end gun violence,” said a spokesperson for the group Moms Demand Action.

Gun violence has affected many in the group with catastrophic consequences.

“I’m optimistic, cautiously optimistic,” said Andrea Chamblee with Moms Demand Action.

Chamblee’s husband John McNamara was one of the five people killed in the Capital Gazette newsroom in June 2018 by a man with a shotgun.

Republican delegates are solidly opposed to the bill.

“It will not make us any safer,” said House Minority Leader Nicholaus Kipke. “Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health did a 10-year-analysis of the law in California and it had the report said zero impact on crime, zero impact. So you’re really just making life a little more difficult for hunters who aren’t doing anything wrong and doing nothing about the violent crime in our state.”

Bill sponsor Vanessa Atterbeary said the bill prevents people who cannot legally own guns from bypassing background checks.

“They can simply go to an unlicensed dealer online or at a gun show, a friend or their inlaw, a lot has been made of their family members and they can get a gun that way. So we want to make sure those people don’t have access to a weapon,” Atterbeary said.

Right now, background checks for long guns are only required when purchased from licensed dealers.

The bill goes back on the floor for more debate Friday and will most likely have a final vote next week.

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