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For Immediate Release

Contact: Meg Butler 410-841-3683

[email protected]


Senator Ready Initiative to Make Theft of a Handgun a Felony Passes State Senate


Annapolis, Md. – Wednesday, Senator Justin Ready’s initiative from Senate Bill 533, Criminal Law – Theft of a Handgun, passed the State Senate with strong bipartisan support after being amended onto SB 861, which included several anti-crime measures.  “Making the theft of a handgun a felony specifically goes after criminals instead of Annapolis’ usual practice of targeting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Senate Minority Whip Justin Ready (R-Carroll) who has sponsored legislation to move this measure forward for three years. “We’ve heard countless stories of gun-related crimes are being committed with stolen handguns. This measure increases the penalty to match the seriousness of the offense.”

SB 861, which passed the Senate 44-0, included several Senate Republican public safety proposals including the following: 


  • Making the theft of a handgun a felony,
  • Closing the “drug dealer loophole” where drug dealers who use a firearm during the sale of drugs are specifically exempted from harsher penalties,
  • Allowing for interlocutory appeals so that prosecutors can keep firearms charges in criminal cases, and
  • Expanding the definition of absconding to include leaving a court-ordered stay in an addiction treatment facility as part of their parole and probation without authorization.


"While there is still much work to be done, these measures will make a significant impact on curbing the violent crime crisis that continues to rage throughout the state. Now the battle moves to the House of Delegates, where I hope that action will be taken quickly so that we can get these important safety measures signed into law," Senator Ready concluded.