The gun at the top is an AR-10, which is legal. On the bottom is an AR-15, which is not. For further clarification, this particular AR-10 in the photo is banned because it has a folding stock. If it had a sliding stock, like the AR-15 in the picture, it would be legal.
This week new gun laws went into effect in Maryland. Included in the long list of regulations is a ban on 45 assault-style guns. One gun dealer in Howard County believes the ban will not be effective in preventing mass shootings because it ignores some very powerful guns that will be unregulated because they are considered hunting rifles.
Jeff Underwood does most of his work in real estate. But as a side business, he buys and sells guns out of his shop, which is connected to Underwood's house in Columbia. Since a lot of his sales are to people from out of state, he can still carry the guns now banned under Maryland law in his shop, provided he is selling them to someone from a state where the firearm is legal. This means Underwood can -- and does -- have AR-15s in his shop. But he can't own one since Maryland law now bans them. The AR-15 was the gun used in the shootings at a Connecticut elementary school and a Colorado movie theater last year. But an earlier version of the firearm, an AR-10, is perfectly legal in Maryland according to Underwood.
"An AR-10 is what's known as an over the counter firearm," he says. "It's a .308 caliber, semi-automatic firearm. Looks just like an AR-15, it's a little bigger, and a little heavier. And it's a bigger caliber."
The AR-10 is one of many long rifles the new law leaves alone as they are considered hunting guns. Underwood considers the AR-15 a hunting rifle too, but believes it was banned solely because of its use by the gunmen in those two mass shootings last year.
"An AR-10 could do far more damage, because it's a much larger caliber. It has a lot more powder in the case. So it has a greater foot-pounds of energy that it delivers when it hits its target. And that will be an unregulated firearm."
Supporters of the ban have vigorously defended it, and were successful this week in preventing a lawsuit filed by many gun owners and gun rights groups from stopping the implementation of the law on Tuesday, the day it was to go into effect.