News from Annapolis
2018 Session:  Week   8            Delegate Trent K ittleman - District 9A
Delegate Trent Kittleman
  • FEATURED STORY: Gun Violence & School Shootings: Is there any answer?
  • Fetal Homicide bill strongly supported by Marylanders
  • Sanctuary State supporters try again
  • Scholarship Information
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Gun Violence & School Shootings
        School shootings such as the one in Florida last month are heart-wrenching and every parent's worst nightmare.  But thus far, we have found virtually no way to prevent such shootings.  
        Efforts to "harden" school buildings and the use of more armed school resource officers may help.  But the issue of how we can both identify and stop someone from committing these horrors has been hard to find.
        One area where advocates on both sides of the issue agree is that preventing someone with a mental illness (or who is experiencing a temporary mental crisis) from possessing a gun is not only appropriate, but an important goal in stemming the growing tide of mass shootings at schools and elsewhere.
But how do you do that?
         The  phrase "see something -- say something" is an effort to get us to become aware of what are often clear signs that an individual is showing signs of instability leaning toward violence.  Society is starting to do that: witness the number of people who reported their concerns about the apparent Parkdale shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
          Indeed, in his case, family, friends, neighbors, law enforcement officers, and teachers all notified and warned the appropriate authorities of their concerns about violent statements or actions by Nikolas.
My Question is:  So What Can We DO?
         According to the Broward County sheriff's office, d eputies responded to 23 incidents at the Cruz residence, 18 of them involving Nikolas Cruz. 
         The Office says, however, that "none appeared arrestable under Florida law."
 "By early 2016, deputies were called after a neighbor's son saw a disturbing Instagram post that seemed to suggest Cruz 'planned to shoot up the school.'  At the time, deputies concluded that Cruz owned knives and a BB gun. They passed along that information to a school resource officer   at Stoneman Douglas, but it is not clear whether any other steps were taken." (NPR Radio, WAMU,  March 1,  Heard on All Things Considered.)
          Could they have warned the school?  Yes, but considering what happened in a school that size, a warning wouldn't have made a differenct.
          Could they have put a tail on Nikolas?  Sure -- but for how long?
          The problem is, in this Country we don't lock people up because we think they might do something bad -- and we don't want to start down that path!  
            I am a passionate supporter of the Second Amendment, a gun owner, and a member of the NRA, and an avid defender of our civil rights.  Like everyone else, I've been looking for a way to curb gun violence that does not infringe on either our  First or Second Amendment rights -- and that actually works!
          On Thursday, March 1, my Judiciary Committee heard testimony on House Bill 1302.  I was impressed, for the first time, that maybe we had something here.
          See what you think!
HB 1302  " Family Violence - Seizure of Lethal Weapons - Lethal Violence Protective Order "
         Since this subject is so very sensitive and the "devil is in the details," I am dedicating this entire issue to the subject, and including the following substantive point by point summary of the bill's provisions. 
What Does the bill Do?
       Creates an "Emergency Lethal Violence Protective Order" 
("Emergency Order ") that temporarily prohibits a person ("Respondent") from owning or possessing any firearms or ammunition, and  creates a "Lethal Violence Protective Order" (" Order ") that can be issued for up to one year--both of which are civil court actions that do not create a criminal record.

Who Can Request such an order?
      A broad scope of people with whom the Respondent has some sort of familial or similar personal relationship, a police officer, or a vulnerable adult ("Petitioner") may ask a court to issue such an Emergency Order.

How does Petitioner Request such an order?
      By filing a Petition alleging, based on personal knowledge and under penalty of perjury, that Respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to himself or others by possessing a firearm(s).

What else must be in the Petition?
      The specific grounds for requesting the Emergency Order and a description of the firearm(s) and ammunition Petitioner believes the Respondent possesses.

How must the court respond?
  • Hold a hearing within 14 days after receipt of the Petition
  • Determine  whether Respondent poses an immediate danger to himself or others by possessing a firearm(s), by a preponderance of the evidence.
  • If so, the Court will:
    • Issue an Emergency Lethal Violence Protective Order, and
    • Schedule a hearing within 14 days to determine if the Emergency Order should be maintained or dismissed. 
  • If not, the Court will terminate the Emergency Order and the Firearms and ammunition will be returned to the Respondent.
What does the Emergency Order Include?
  • A statement that the Respondent may not possess any firearms or ammunition while the order is in effect, and the requirement that he relinquish all such firearms and ammunition to the law enforcement officer servicing the Emergency Order.
  • A statement of the grounds asserted for the Emergency Order.
  • Notice of the date (within 14 days), time and place of the hearing to determine whether a Lethal Violence Protective Order ("Order") should be issued for up to a year.
  • A notice that Respondent may request the hearing be rescheduled for up to 30 days, and warning that failure to appear at that hearing may result in the issuance of an Order of up to a year.
American Bar Association Supports
Gun Violence Protective Orders
          The American Bar Association adopted a Resolution on August 14-15, 2017 urging governments to enact gun violence restraining orders.  The body of the Resolution describes the Order as follows: 
How it Works in Connecticut
          Connecticut's law, which is very similar to HB 1302, has been in effect since 1999.  The only "problem" with respect to the law is adequately educating the public of its existence to encourage its use.   School shootings like the recent tragedy in Broward County, FL may lead to an increase in public knowledge of the law as a resource that could have been instrumental in Broward County.    
          Between 2007 and 2013, Connecticut courts issued 762 gun violence prevention warrants (comparable to the 'Orders' in HB1302).  Approximately two-thirds of the warrants affected people considered to be a danger to themselves; about one-third were deemed a danger to others.  And although it is always difficult to measure how much of anything you have prevented, researchers were able to determine, based on the higher-than-average suicide rate of those targeted by the warrants, that the law was effectively targeting high-risk people.
          Another benefit of the Connecticut law was that in 44 percent of cases, the request for a warrant resulted in the subject receiving psychiatric treatment they might otherwise not have received.
Fetal Homicide Law Strongly Supported by Marylanders
          A Poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling from February 20-22 found that Marylanders strongly support changing the state's fetal homicide law.  According to the poll results, nearly two out of three Maryland voters (62%) support expanding the current fetal homicide law to enable prosecution for the death of a fetus before the age of viability when that death results from a violent attack on a pregnant woman.
        African-Americans support expanding the law by an even larger majority: 73%.  Baltimore City voters also strongly favor expanding the law, with close to 70 percent expressing their support.
        Sixty percent of Baltimore County voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports expanding Maryland's current fetal homicide law.   
Sanctuary State Supporters Try Again
         HB 1461 has been introduced in the House of Delegates.   Last year's sanctuary bill was called the "Trust" act; this year's version is entitled the "SAFE" Act ("Supporting All Families Everywhere"). The bill is scheduled for a hearing before my committee (Judiciary) on  Tuesday, March 13.   
        One good sign is that there is no cross-filed bill in the Senate -- which almost always happens on a bill such as this when it is expected to pass.  
        Last year, it was the Senate who killed the sanctuary state bill through the efforts of several Republican legislators who used Facebook and letters to the newspapers to alert Senate President Mike Miller's constituents about the bill.  Constituent outcry from many districts was able to defeat the effort.
How to apply for a Trent Kittleman Legislative Scholarship 
          District 9A residents attending a college, university, trade school or equivalent in the State of Maryland are eligible for the Delegate Scholarship.
          Current high school seniors and full-time (12+ credits per semester) or part-time (6-11 credits per semester), degree-seeking under-graduate students, graduate students, and students attending a private career school may apply. 
            Click here for the application.  For questions regarding the application process, please call my Annapolis office and ask to speak with Chelsea Leigh Murphy at 410-841-3556.  

DEADLINE:   Please be sure to have your completed application  postmarked by  April 9, 2018.
Delegate Trent Kittleman
District 9A, Western Howard County and Southern Carroll County (Sykesville)
Room 202, Lowe House Office Building
6 Bladen Street,   Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3556  *   Trent.Kittleman@House.State.MD.US
Interim Office
3000 Kittleman Lane,  West Friendship, MD 21794
301-661-3344  *
Administrative AideChelsea Leigh Murphy