Annapolis – Delegate Jon S. Cardin (D-11, Baltimore County) will introduce legislation that imposes a 50% excise tax on firearms ammunition and adds a $25 annual gun registration fee, with the revenues to fully fund mental health and the developmentally disabled in The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The legislation, set to be introduced this week, is the only bill announced so far that sends money directly to the mentally ill in an effort to decrease gun violence.
In a statement, Delegate Cardin said, “the mental health aspect has been missing from the conversation on gun control. At the moment, comprhensive treatment for mental health is more difficult to access than weapons. That’s appalling.
His legislation is meant to offer treatment to those who need it in the pursuit of both decreasing gun violence and creating a healthier society overall.”
Delegate Cardin issued a challenge to gun-rights proponents to oppose a bill he says goes directly to the heart of the NRA argument that says we need to focus on mental health and not banning guns.
While Cardin believes that stricter gun control may be appropriate, and is also co-sponsoring this session’s assault weapons ban, protecting the mental health budget has always been one of his top priorities. This legislation is a perfect opportunity to bring together all the communities of interest.
Last year, Delegate Cardin made clear that his support of Maryland’s Dream Act, was contingent on NOT diverting the $6 million fiscal note away from the Developmental Disabilities Administration.
At the time of the debate, he clearly stated that in a year where the DDA was losing part of its budget, fiscal responsibility to the most vulnerable among us is essential. Staying true to his principles at the time of the vote demonstrates how important mental health is to Jon. As should be with his colleagues, it was his consideration of mental health and disabilities that guided his vote. He also sponsored legislation last year that would have expanded mental health benefits for state employees.
Delegate Cardin added, “I keep hearing things like ‘we’ll never completely get rid of gun violence’ or ‘there will always be school shootings.’ I’m tired of that defeatist attitude. I haven’t given up on creating a better world where we don’t have to be afraid to send our kids to school in the morning because we’re not sure if they’ll come back.
"I have a one-year-old girl. I will not allow even tacit tolerance for the massacre of children. We have to come at this from every angle. We need to get assault weapons off of our streets. We need better accountability for gun owners. And we need to make sure everyone gets the mental health treatment they need, so that someone’s personal issues don’t result in the death of a child or anyone else.”