Responding to the recent editorial, “Is there a law that could have saved the Capital Gazette?” (July 2), I have the following observations: Yes, Maryland does have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, but the argument that the “fundamental facet of our laws and practices related to guns [in Maryland]” that is in error is not that we allow “some people who shouldn’t have guns to get them,” rather, it is that we keep law abiding citizens from routinely carrying them in public.
The Sun correctly states that “Police arrived on the scene almost immediately.” But five people still lost their lives! The flaw is the reasoning of people who think that the police can protect them from heinous criminals. What could have prevented or lessened this terrible tragedy? Only one thing — a good guy with a gun.
Consider for a minute that the maniac who committed this crime started off by shooting out the glass in the front door. Anyone in that room was instantly alerted to the trouble, possibly before the first victim was shot. Anyone in that room with a gun could have stopped the aggressor before he completed his violent acts. There are about 300 million guns in the US — almost one for every citizen. With Maryland’s population of around 6 million, and assuming equal distribution, that’s about 6 million guns in Maryland. Even discounting the national average by 75 percent, there could be 1.5 million guns in Maryland. There is no law that can protect you from 1.5 million guns that are available to people who would use them to harm you.
The Firearms Safety Act of 2013 was passed as a knee-jerk reaction to Sandy Hook, a crime committed by a guy who started the day by shooting his mother while she lay in bed before heading off to murder little kids. It has proven to be worthless because it does nothing to address the cause of crime. It furthers the idea that gun control works. In fact, gun control does not work. In 2012, there were 218 homicides in Baltimore. In 2017, four years after passage of that legislation, there were an astounding 343 homicides. The largest city in a state that brags about its strict gun control laws now leads the nation in per capita homicides.
During testimony in the last legislative session on a bill to ban mere possession of magazines holding more than 10 rounds, Baltimore police testified that not one of the shootings in Baltimore last year was perpetrated by a lawfully-carrying gun owner. Most criminals had prior arrests and should have been in jail, and far and away the weapon of choice was a handgun, not an AR-15 or a shotgun. More gun restrictions are not the answer. Prohibition did not work and the 50,000 annual deaths from illegal drugs is a modern day example that criminals will get the goods that they seek. Guns are not the problem. If they were, every gun show would be a blood bath. Instead, we find the blood baths in places like Virginia Tech, San Bernadino, Parkland, Aurora, Orlando, and too many more — most of which were gun-free zones.
It is time for Maryland legislators to recognize what 42 other states have already recognized, that lawful concealed carriers, who are seven to 10 times less likely to be involved in a crime than a police officer, are not the problem. Only then will the citizens of Maryland be able to protect themselves before police arrive — even if they are only one minute away.
Our nation’s founding was made possible because of private ownership of firearms. The Founding Fathers, having just overthrown an oppressive government, did not codify the right to gun ownership so that we could feed ourselves. They codified the right to keep and bear arms for the “security of a free state.” Funny how the leaders of the “Free State” like Attorney General Brian Frosh, who is protected by a good-guy with a gun, fail to embrace this basic tenet of our Constitution while simultaneously failing to act to reduce the true causes of crime. It is innocent people who pay the price, who aren’t provided with taxpayer-funded security and who are prevented from providing their own.
Perry Sharpless, Monrovia
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