Carroll County Times

Letter: Domestic violence, guns don't mix

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Just like gasoline and fire, guns and domestic violence don't mix and when they do, the results can be fatal. When a gun is present in an abusive situation, a woman is five times more likely to be killed. The most common victims in crimes of domestic mass shootings are children. There is also significant risk to responding police officers. Domestic violence calls lead to more police officer fatalities than any other type of call. Despite all this, there are actions we can take. In fact, one of those actions is currently mired in committee in the state legislature.

In Maryland, when someone is convicted of domestic violence, they're prohibited from possessing a gun. Even so, there's a dangerous gap in state law that makes it too easy for abusers to access guns. That's because state law fails to require those convicted of disqualifying crimes to turn in the guns they already own. The group Court Watch Montgomery tracked the cases of 126 offenders over a one-year period in Montgomery County who were prohibited because of their domestic violence conviction. The group found that in only one of the 126 cases was the convicted abuser even informed that he could not possess guns due to his conviction.


Maryland's legislature should close this gap by passing SB727/HB1424, legislation that would protect victims of domestic violence by requiring their abusers to turn in their guns when they become legally prohibited from having them. Unfortunately, these bills are currently stalled in the legislature. If they aren't passed out of committee soon, the deadline for legislation to be voted on this year in Annapolis will come and go with no action.

Marylanders should ask their representatives what's keeping this common sense measure from becoming law. Two Senators and one delegate representing Carroll County — Sen. Michael Hough, Sen. Justin Ready, and Del. Trent Kittleman — all sit on committees where this bill is awaiting action. Urge these senators and delegate not to let SB727/HB1424 languish in their committees.


Mary McCullough

Mount Airy

The writer is the volunteer leader of Maryland Moms Demand Action.