Rockville resident Eric Greynolds was raised in Texas, which he described as a “beautiful” state filled with “wonderful” people.
Texas is also a state with lax gun laws that have become even weaker due to legislation making it easier for civilians to carry concealed firearms in public, he told the Montgomery County Council during the public hearing portion of its meeting this week.
“Many people are left on the edge when they attend public gatherings because they do not know which stranger in their midst may be armed,” Greynolds said.
Now a “proud” Marylander, Greynolds said he volunteers with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization fighting for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. He spoke in favor of a proposed gun regulation bill at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The bill, introduced July 12 by council President Gabe Albornoz, states that a person must not “sell, transfer, possess, or transport” any type of ghost gun, rifle, shotgun, ammunition or major component of a firearm within 100 yards of a place of public assembly. Council staff define a place of public assembly as parks, churches, schools and similar public buildings and spaces.
Critics of the proposed bill say it would unfairly penalize law-abiding gun owners and that it won’t survive court challenges, especially given the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., et al. v. Bruen.
County Executive Marc Elrich told reporters earlier this month that he and the county attorney’s office would work with the council if it is determined that the proposed bill needs to be tweaked.
The council’s Public Safety Committee is expected to schedule a work session on the bill when the council returns in September from its summer recess, which starts next week.
Greynolds said the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Bruen case means that Marylanders may face some of the negative outcomes that Texans currently experience.
“An armed society is a fearful society,” he said. “An armed society is a more violent society, and an armed society is not the community that we want to build in Montgomery County, Maryland.”
Giselle Morch of Silver Spring, who also testified in support of the proposed bill, volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Everytown Survivor Network, two groups aiming to end gun violence.
She said her only son, Jaycee, was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest five years ago. Before that, he was injured when he was shot in the leg at a 7-Eleven in Takoma Park, she said.
“A growing body of research shows that when it is easier for people to carry guns in public, violent crimes will go up,” Morch said.
Other community members, however, testified against the proposed bill.
County resident and business owner Eli Shemony said he is in charge of security at his synagogue in Rockville. Six years ago, members of the synagogue decided to get concealed carry permits, firearms and training because they were unsatisfied with the response of county police.
He said the bill, if approved by the council, would make him a “felon.”
“The days that we have to carry firearms in order to defend ourselves as Jews in a synagogue, we are in a position to get arrested because we are probably 100 yards near a place of public assembly,” Shemony said.
Christine Zhu of Gaithersburg, a rising junior at the University of Maryland who is studying journalism and Spanish, is the Bethesda Beat summer intern.