We've heard that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But how about keeping guns out of the hands of the bad guys in the first place?
Right now, there is no federal law that punishes people who buy guns for criminals who are banned from purchasing firearms themselves. In a recent TV interview, Rep. Elijah Cummings spoke about a guy in Georgia whose girlfriend bought him 64 guns in less than three months. Some of those guns ended up at crime scenes in Maryland, a state in which it is much harder to buy guns.
That's why several Maryland members of Congress, including Mr. Cummings, are co-sponsoring the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013. The measure would increase the penalty for anyone who purchases a gun for another person — a so-called "straw buyer — who is prohibited from buying or possessing one.
This bi-partisan legislation would help stop criminals from getting guns illegally and make those who buy guns for criminals liable for their actions. We urge citizens to call their congressman and tell them they support HR 452. People can also tell them not to worry about backlash from the NRA — because their votes count too.
Liz Kato and Joanne Locke, Ellicott City
The writers are members of the Central Maryland Committee to Prevent Gun Violence.