I am writing to you to voice my opposition to Gov. Martin O'Malley's extremist gun bill ("O'Malley battling for gun controls," March 22). I oppose it in any and all forms. I was in Annapolis on Feb 6, March 1 and March 5, along with thousands of other lawful gun owners, to register and voice my opposition.
There is no crisis of rifle violence in this state, only a crisis of fear driven by opportunistic legislators. The governor's claim that an overwhelming percentage of Marylanders support this bill is a lie. Over 1,300 people testified against this bill, and fewer than 40 were for it. Even a recent online poll in the left-leaning Sun showed that 95 percent of people thought that the AR-15 modern sporting rifle should be removed from the banned list. Gun control support across the state and nation has also declined, despite the lies being told by lobbyist Vinnie DeMarco. When interviewed at a recent town hall meeting sponsored by WBFF TV, Mr. DeMarco incorrectly stated that an AR-15 was used in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. That is not the first time he has done that. When corrected, he looked away in disgust.
None of the proposals in the bill are going to stop criminals or the mentally ill from committing heinous and cowardly acts against innocent people. Evil will always exist in a free society. All these going to do is make it harder for the law abiding citizen to legally obtain a firearm and ammunition to continue their God given and civil right to protect themselves and their loved ones.
If you would like to make this state safer, put police in the schools, enforce current laws and create new ones that will guarantee jail time for career criminals and those who participate in straw purchases. Develop programs to help the mentally ill. Give the citizens the power to protect themselves through concealed weapons carry. Attack the high crime areas of Baltimore City and Prince George's County.
Do not let Governor O'Malley exploit recent tragedies for political gain. Read the FBI data on violent crime. Study the facts of what concealed carry has done for crime in other states. Take a valid look at all available options before rushing to judgment. Realize that we already have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. Ask pro gun control groups for valid proof on their "assault weapons" arguments and you will find their numbers do not add up! They are driven by the emotion of current events and misrepresentation by the media.
Semi-automatic rifles are not machine guns. They fire one round every time the trigger is pulled. Owning a firearm is a right and licensing and fingerprinting law abiding gun owners is unconstitutional and an unnecessary expense for the poor and middle class. It will not create a safer state and these bills are during nothing more than creating a barrier for law abiding citizens to own firearms.
Lastly, are you willing to let several companies in the firearms industry leave this state and take over a thousand jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue with them? And for what? A feel-good ban on modern hunting rifles. The time to vote is coming soon. Thousands of Marylanders, myself included, are changing their voter registration status to Democrat. Your votes on this bill are being watched and the voters will respond appropriately in 2014.
Ed Pietruszka Jr., NottinghamCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun