Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Police Chief Melissa Hyatt introduced the Secure All Fire Arms Effectively Act — S.A.F.E. Act – on Monday, which aims to mandate that firearm retailers and gun show venues step up their security in order to protect the public from stolen guns that make their way to Baltimore County’s streets.
“This is a serious problem because stolen guns are sold and traded to criminals, providing them deadly weapons to commit violent crimes here and across our region,” said Olszewski during the press conference.
Noting that over 65 guns have been stolen from seven Baltimore County firearm retailers over the last two years, Olszewski said, “Although firearm establishments are protected by staff during the day, some do not secure their firearms after business hours… there are no current requirements for retail establishments to secure their stores or their inventory after they close.”
If passed, the S.A.F.E Act will require firearm retail establishments and gun shows, that fall under the county’s regulatory authority, to obtain a license in order to store firearm inventory.
In order to obtain the license, retailers and gun show venues would have to implement a Baltimore County Police Department-approved safety plan which includes monitoring at all times by an alarm and video system that is registered with the county, barriers to prevent vehicle intrusion, security gates for doors and windows, and cages for firearms. Alternatively, live security guard coverage of the facilities after business hours is an option for the establishments.
“Gun violence is a problem and a challenge everywhere. Where there are gaps that help fuel violence, we have a responsibility and we should act to close those loopholes,” said Olszewski. “This proposal keeps stolen guns out of the hands of criminals and off our streets. It’s about keeping our communities safe.”