New laws take effect in Maryland today which were passed by the legislature in the winter/spring 2019 season in Annapolis.  Many impact domestic violence victims:


New firearms laws allow the prosecution of anyone loaning a gun to someone known to be legally barred from possessing them or when it is known the gun will be used to harm the individual or to harm others; ban bump stocks (which enable more rapid gunfire); and direct the Governor’s Office of Crime and Crime Prevention to study firearms used in violent crimes and those possessed illegally.

Criminal statutes

New criminal statutes create stricter penalties for committing a crime of violence against a woman with the knowledge she is pregnant, lift the statute of limitations on murder-for-hire, and criminalize threatening to commit a hate crime. Hate crimes rose 35% in Maryland from 2016-2017, compared to 17% nationally.

Another new law authorizes Maryland courts to vacate a conviction if there is new information that calls into question the original ruling.

Rape kits

A new Maryland law establishes a five-year, $3.5 million dollar fund to reduce Maryland’s backlog of over 6,000 untested rape kits.


If you crave more detail, see Maryland Reporter’s excellent and thorough review of all laws taking effect Oct. 1, 2019.