Wednesday I traveled to Annapolis to testify in opposition to SB 281, the painfully misnamed “Firearms Safety Act of 2013.” I was not alone. Media outlets counted “hundreds” but there were probably at least 5,000. According to the office of Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian Frosh, 2,444 people originally signed up to testify. Another 200 or so signed handwritten sheets to voice their opinions. Within the Miller Senate Office Building, the hearing room and two overflow rooms were closed as they reached their rated capacity. The hallways were jammed with people. Thousands of people milled about the State House courtyard outside.
I was told it was likely the largest crowd ever signed up to testify in Maryland history. They have not taken a count of supporters vs. opponents, but most opposed.
There were actually four gun-related bills slated for discussion: SB 281, SB 266, SB 420 and SB 228, but the primary focus was SB 281. Hearings began at approximately 1:00 p.m. Chairman Frosh allotted eight hours for testimony, four hours for each side.