Bill Would Allow Bow Hunters to Carry Pistols for Protection

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Bow hunters in Western Maryland could carry a pistol for protection if a bill passes in the Maryland General Assembly.

Senator George Edwards is sponsoring the bill after the Sportsmen's Association requested it.

"It just gives you another source of protection. It's easier to shoot a pistol at a bear, depending on the situation, than it is a bow and arrow. It takes a little longer. Once you shoot that first arrow, you've got to put another one in. With a pistol, you've got probably at least six shots in there," says Edwards, (R) - Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties.

It would allow licensed bow hunters, who are at least 21 years old, to carry a handgun for protection against bears.

The bill would take effect in Garrett, Allegany, and part of western Washington County.

Edwards will introduce the bill Tuesday, February 5, in committee.

"It's up close is what we're talking about here," Edwards says. "We're not talking far away, so if you're up in a tree stand and they're coming up there after you, or you get down out of the tree stand and they're right there, you have it. The noise of the gun is one thing that kind of scares them off too."

Edwards says the bill is needed because people aren't going to be able to fend off a bear with a bow and arrow.

"I hear from people all the time up in the tree stands a bear comes along, and they've got to stay up there a long time because it's easier to protect yourself with a pistol that it is with a bow and arrow against a bear," Edwards says.

The Allegany County Delegation is sponsoring the bill in the Maryland House of Delegates.

To read the senate bill, click here. To read the house bill, click here.

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