Hunters Worry MD Gun Regulations Will Impact New Season - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Hunters Worry MD Gun Regulations Will Impact New Season

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MARYLAND – For many people on the Eastern Shore, Labor Day was more than just a holiday this year, but the official first day of hunting season. However, with Maryland's new gun regulations, some hunters are concerned.

Beginning October 1st, a new Firearms Law will go into effect in Maryland, which features a variety of strict regulations. This includes an official ban of assault rifles, along with many handguns, unless a Handgun Qualification License (HQL) is obtained. This license requires a fingerprint background check from Maryland State Police. Currently, a background check is required for regulated firearms. "Shooters Supply" owner and local hunter, Bob Arthur, say police are 40,000 applications behind on those background checks.

"They are four months behind, so it's going to be four or five months until people will be able to pick up these guns."

This could mean a delayed hunting season for a number of hunters.

"If you wanted to purchase one today, you may not get that gun by the start of the firearm season in mid-November, and that can be a problem for people," says Pat Reber, a hunter in Dorchester County.

Arthur says the cost of requiring a HQL license can be as much as $200 or $300, and that hunters use the "soon-to-be" banned weapons for a variety of purposes, including trapping and shooting small game, and most importantly, deer hunting. Reber says these weapons are very successful when it comes to controlling overpopulation of deer.

"We have a deer problem in Dorchester county, crop damage is a big problem down here. It affects the way we can manage our farms and manage or herds."

Since the law does not go into effect until October 1st, hunters still have about a month to purchase these guns.  However, that is money that Arthur says most hunters would not normally spend.

"They're taking the money that they would be spending on sporting arms and spending it on these banned ones instead."

In the meantime, hunters say they are trying to stay positive. Arthur says the numbers seem up and they have seen a lot of birds. Reber is hoping for a normal winter with cold weather, snow, and ice, but even in the heat of Labor Day, he had a very successful first day of hunting.

"I think it's going to be a real good season for them," says Arthur.

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