On May 10, 2013, Aegis Managing Editor Allan Vought disagreed with my belief that expanding concealed carry permits is a viable defense to gun violence worth public debate.
Although I respect Mr. Vought's opinion, "more guns won't do anything - but kill more people," I stand by my support that the best defense for a criminal armed with a gun is a police officer or a law abiding citizen with a firearm prepared to take appropriate action to protect life.
In Newtown, Ct., we witnessed bravery beyond comprehension as teachers defended children with their own lives. Could, or would, that, and many other deadly encounters whereby innocent citizens were harmed or killed by an armed gunman been changed if just one law abiding citizen on location been armed with a firearm and took action? Worth consideration, but we will never know.
In the State of Maryland, a person, even a retired police officer as I am, must pass one of the most aggressive background checks in the nation in order to be issued a handgun permit by my previous employer; the Maryland State Police. Yet, the State of Maryland does not permit a retired police officer with a state or federal permit to carry a concealed firearm on public school property. Opportunity is the fuel that propels those who are intent on harming others. Opportunity, along with preparation, is also what allows the ordinary law abiding citizen to save a life. As the father of two daughters in our public school system, I hope if such an act were to occur in our schools brave citizens would intervene and I pray that a brave sole is prepared and equipped to stand in the path of violence.
As previously stated, as your next Sheriff, I support a citizen's right to keep and bear arms and welcome public discussion that keeps guns out of hands of criminals and those with the propensity for violence. Unfortunately, Maryland has again missed the mark and penalized law abiding citizens who own or want to own firearms while not effectively addressing the real problem; those that use firearms to violate the rights and freedoms of others.
Jeffrey R. Gahler
2014 Republican Candidate for Harford County SheriffCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun