Changing gun serial numbers ‘not a crime,’ Maryland appeals court rules.

Maryland's highest court has overturned a state law banning the…

Maryland’s highest court has overturned a state law banning the removal or alteration of serial numbers from firearms, a decision prompting public safety concerns among gun control advocates who say the tool is crucial to tracking crimes involving weapons.
When state lawmakers amended Maryland’s firearms law in 2003, they failed to outline the penalty for changing or removing a gun’s serial number, the Court of Appeals of Maryland ruled in a newly released opinion — a clerical error, that according to the court, means such an action is “not a crime.”

“When an individual is convicted pursuant to a charge that does not constitute a crime, that conviction must be reversed and the sentence vacated,” the judges said.

And now some analysts are concerned how the ruling will affect weapons investigations across Maryland.

“Part of the reason [serial numbers] are so important is that it is extremely difficult to trace guns,” said Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “It’s not like on TV where it’s easy to trace it back to the owner. This could make it more difficult for prosecutors at the state level.”

Source: Brian Hughes for Washington Examiner.

Load Comments