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Maryland Senate Race: Where the Candidates Stand on Guns


The 2016 election is only a few days away and while everyone knows the presidential candidates’ stances on guns, for many the state elections, which can cause affect laws in each individual state just as much, if not more than the presidency. We here at USA Firearm Training believe that a well-informed populace is a strong one, so we are going to be sharing with you the Senate race in Maryland and the stances of the candidates on guns, to give each of you a better idea where they stand.


Maryland’s 2016 Senate race pits two newcomers against one another for outgoing Senator Barbara Mikulski’s seat in the capitol. Democratic Nominee Chris Van Hollen vs. Republican Challenger Kathy Szeliga.

Chris Van Hollen is an incumbent Congressmen representing Maryland’s Eighth District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been in office since 2003. While Kathy Szeliga has been a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates representing the Seventh District.

Currently, Chris Van Hollen holds a 29 point lead over Szeliga in an average of the polls.

Now let’s take a look at the candidates’ stances on gun control based off of their own voting history as well as quotes directly from the candidates.



Voted NO on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers.

The bill was planned to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others. A YES vote would have:

  • Prohibited individuals from filing a qualified civil liability action
  • Exempt lawsuits brought against individuals who knowingly transfer a firearm that will be used to commit a violent or drug-trafficking crime
  • Exempt lawsuits against actions that result in death, physical injury or property damage due solely to a product defect
  • Dismissed of all civil liability actions pending on the date of enactment
  • Prohibited the manufacture, import, sale or delivery of armor piercing ammunition

Voted NO on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse.

Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit liability lawsuits from being brought against gun manufacturers and dealers based on the criminal misuse of firearms. The bill would also block these actions from being brought up against gun trade organizations and against ammunition makers and sellers. The measure would apply immediately to any pending cases. Several specific exceptions to the ban exist. This includes civil suits would be allowed against a maker or dealer who “knowingly and willfully violated” state or federal laws in the selling or marketing of a weapon. Design and manufacturing defect lawsuits are also permitted when weapons are “used as intended.

Van Hollen signed H.R.2324 & S.843 which would make it unlawful for any person to operate a gun show unless such person:

  1. has attained 21 years of age;
  2. is not prohibited from transporting, shipping, or receiving firearms and has not violated any federal firearms requirements;
  3. has registered with the Attorney General as a gun show operator and has provided a photograph and fingerprints;
  4. has not concealed material information nor made false statements in connection with a gun show operator registration; and
  5. notifies the Attorney General of the date, time, and duration of a gun show not later than 30 days before the commencement of such show and verifies the identity of each vendor at the gun show.

H.R.2324 & S.843 also imposes recordkeeping requirements on gun show operators and criminal penalties for failure to register as a gun show operator and maintain required records. Increases criminal penalties for serious recordkeeping violations and violations of criminal background check requirements. Authorizes the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to hire additional investigators to carry out inspections of gun shows.


Delegate Szeliga has stated on her site that she believes in the constitutional right to bear arms.

Szeliga expressed a desire for stricter enforcement of existing gun laws.

“One of the things we all agreed on was that we must have judges and prosecutors who enforce the gun-related laws already on our books,” she said in a statement Friday. “Too often, we see violent criminals return to the streets they have previously terrorized, only to commit more violent crimes.”

Szeliga’s stance on gun control contrasts with the positions taken by Maryland’s Democratic congressional candidates, all of whom have co-sponsored Van Hollen’s bill or pledged to back it if elected in November.

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