In a New Year's Day editorial, the Sun editorial board lamented that 2013 was "a lost year in the fight against gun crime." There is plenty wrong, of course, with how Baltimore City handles gun crime. The lack of seriousness with which the Rawlings-Blake administration seems to address gun crimes as compared to other issues is of great concern. When City Police Chief Anthony Batts says that "everyday citizens" had no reason to worry about gun crimes since 80-85 percent of the victims were African-Americans involved in the drug trade, that shows that he is not competent enough to be running a precinct, much like the police department of one of the most dangerous major cities in America.
The only thing shocking about the rise in gun crime in Baltimore is that people are shocked by it.
However one reason that Baltimore may have become more violent and will continue to become more violent in the future is the further restrictions on gun ownership that Gov. Martin O'Malley railroaded through the General Assembly this year. O'Malley's bill of course will have no impact on gun violence, particularly in Baltimore City. O'Malley's new restrictions will have zero impact on those folks who are determined to live a life of crime in the city and will have an impact only on the law abiding citizens who own firearms for personal protection and to participate in shooting sports. A drug dealer isn't going to be impeded by a background check.
The reality is that O'Malley's laws likely made Baltimore a more dangerous place.
Reason.com reports that a recent Quinnipiac University study by economist Mark Gius found that gun laws such as the one that O'Malley put in place or fought in court to keep are of no help to lowering murder rates, and in fact may have the opposite impact. The abstract of his study states:
Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level.
So instead of pursuing laws that such as shall-issue concealed carry laws that would make average Marylanders safer and less likely to murdered by a firearm, O'Malley instead sought out or defended policies that made life less safe for average Marylanders solely to position himself to the far left of the Democratic electorate in his long-shot bid to be the Democratic nominee for president.
I would encourage O'Malley and all other Democrats to answer a simple question: why do you support policies that make city streets more dangerous, not less?
--Brian Griffiths is a co-founder and contributing editor for Red Maryland, which has strived to be the premier blog and radio network of conservative and Republican politics and ideas in the free state since 2007. He is chairman of the Maryland Young Republicans. and has worked on and advised numerous local, state and federal campaigns. His Red Maryland posts appear here regularly.