In 2013, I retired as the Commander of the Maryland State Police Licensing Division. Before that, I ran the Maryland State Police Firearms Enforcement Section and the Gang Enforcement Unit. I was also a homicide investigator, drug investigator and criminal investigator for most of my career. I understand crime and I understand violence. I strongly support efforts to reduce violence in the state of Maryland. But the fact is that we are not focusing on real solutions. I can assure you that bad laws do not make us any safer.
Don't be fooled by Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Gov. Martin O'Malley when they tell you they have passed an assault weapons ban in Maryland ("Brown: I will enforce gun safety law," Sept. 4). Governor Martin O'Malley and Lieutenant Governor Brown boast that they have made the public safe by, "Banning the sale of 45 types of assault weapons (including the AR-15) and certain copycats." Let's take a look at the truth.
The 2013 Firearms Safety Act was written in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The O'Malley Administration was focused on banning the AR-15. Did they do that?
The Firearms Safety Act does not ban the sale of an AR-15 with a heavy barrel. In fact, it is not a "regulated" firearm in Maryland. The AR-10 is not banned in Maryland and can be purchased and carried out of the store on the same day. The difference between an AR-10 and an AR-15? The AR-10 is a larger caliber firearm. The truth is, Maryland does not really have an assault weapons ban as they claim. In fact, there are countless other sporting rifles that fit the description of the type of firearm they have sought to ban that are perfectly legal to purchase in Maryland. The office of the governor is lying to the public when they claim they have given them an "assault weapons ban."
The truth is that these types of firearms have proven to be the least lethal firearm in Maryland. They are rarely used in any crime. Would a true assault weapon ban prevent incidents like Sandy Hook? No! Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold committed one of the most well known school massacres in our history in 1999 at Columbine High School using a 9mm handgun and a double barreled shotgun. There was a federal assault weapons ban in effect at the time, and it did not prevent this massacre from occurring. Evil will find it's way! We are fooling ourselves to think that making a few select firearms illegal will have any affect. This same act can be committed by a number of weapons. The AR-15 has been made popular by the sensationalized reporting by the mainstream media. There are plenty of other firearms that are far more dangerous.
The O'Malley administration also claims they have passed a bill that limits the size of a magazine. Is this true? No! While you may not buy or transfer a magazine that contains more than 10 rounds in Maryland, you may continue to possess a 15 round magazine. You can also legally purchase a 15 round magazine in another state and bring it into Maryland. There are millions of 12, 13, 15 round magazines in Maryland. Contrary to the thoughts of some lawmakers, these magazines are not disposable. They have a very long shelf life. Magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds will remain prevalent in our state forever. This law does nothing to change that.
The Firearms Safety Act of 2013 is a very poor attempt, a quick fix, at reducing gun violence in Maryland. As a retired police officer, I worked to combat violent crime for 23 years across the state of Maryland. I have a very strong understanding of the causes of violence and tactics we can use to reduce violence. I have worked in specialized units to target gun violence and gang violence. We are not addressing the true causes of gun violence. Maryland's efforts to reduce gun violence by passing a very poor piece of legislation are out of focus.
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