Annapolis, MD Ė Marylandís sportsmen and gun owners are heartened by back-to-back victories in the Maryland Legislature. A House of Representatives bill that would have required all handgun and several calibers of rifle ammunition sold in Maryland to be microscopically engraved with serial numbers by the manufacturers has failed.

The Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Caucus backed by the Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Foundation strongly represented the rights of hunters and shooters as it made its case to the House Judiciary Committee considering the bill. A representative from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), its state affiliate - the Maryland Association of Firearms Retailers - and a score of sportsmenís and pro-firearms organizations testified at the Tuesday hearing of the bill. This victory comes on the heels of the failed ĎMinimum Age Hunting Licenseí bill withdrawn only one week earlier.

HB517: The ĎEncoded Ammunitioní Bill received ĎUnfavorableí status from the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, February 29 and was withdrawn today. Since there is no accompanying bill from the Senate, the issue is dead for this session.

The details of the bill briefly stated; By January 1, 2009, all ammunition sold in Maryland required by handguns and a list of Ďassault-type' firearms included in the bill would have to be Ďencodedí. This means each bullet and each casing would have been required to be laser engraved with matching serial numbers and each box of ammunition would have the same serial number as the ammunition Ė no two boxes of ammunition could have the same serial numbers. The owner of any regulated firearm that required encoded ammunition and owned un-encoded ammunition would have to dispose of it by January 1, 2011.

The bill also called for a 5-cent tax to be added the price of each round. The tax-per-round would have gone into a special fund to maintain a database of all the encoded ammunition purchased in the state. Also, when an individual purchased a box of encoded ammunition, they were required to present their identification. Their personal information and how much ammo they purchased would have then been entered into the State Police database.

The bi-partisan Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Caucus is an affiliate of the National Assembly of Sportsmenís Caucuses (NASC), which is comprised of 34 state caucuses nationwide.

ďThe defeat of the proposed Ďbullet serializationí legislation in Maryland is as much a victory for law enforcement as it for sportsmen. Banning ammunition Ė which the bill would have effectively accomplished Ė is not the panacea for fighting crime as many proponents believe. Until our society realizes that criminals will always find a way to perpetrate their malevolent intentions against the right-minded citizenry, statutory measures to compromise our Second Amendments rights must always be stopped in their tracks. I am proud to say the Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Caucus Ė in partnership with the Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Foundation Ė will always serve as an invincible barrier to such harmful, misguided efforts within the State of Maryland. We also would like to recognize our NASC partner, the National Shooting Sports Foundation for their efforts to defeat this legislation,Ē stated Senator John Astle, Co-Chair of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Caucus and incumbent President of the NASC Executive Council.

Marylandís caucus leaders in Annapolis include Senator John Astle, Senator George Edwards, Delegate Richard Weldon and Delegate Sue Kullen. The Maryland Legislative Sportsmenís Foundation is modeled after the Congressional Sportsmenís Foundation (CSF) in Washington. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman are David Sutherland and Bill Miles, respectively.

About the National Assembly of Sportsmenís Caucuses (NASC)

The National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses, a program of the Congressional Sportsmenís Foundation (CSF), serves as the umbrella for 34 affiliated state legislative sportsmen's caucuses. NASC is the leader in providing information to protect and promote sportsmen's issues in state legislatures, serving as the venue for focused interaction and idea exchange among state caucus leaders and the outdoors community. For additional information, visit the NASC website at National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses or call 202-543-6907.