Md. gun law is working [Letter]

Jack Mccauley's letter belittling the Firearms Safety Act fails to mention the most important parts of the new law — the requirement that handgun purchasers get a fingerprint-based license and the authority for the state police to regulate firearms dealers ("O'Malley, Brown are kidding themselves with gun law," Oct. 7). According to Professor Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other gun violence prevention experts, laws like these in other states are working to keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives. We know that that the states that have had fingerprint licensing for decades have substantially lower gun deaths than similar states that do not have such laws. When Missouri repealed a similar law in 2007, gun deaths in that state went up while gun deaths were going down nationally and in neighboring states. And, although it is too early to directly attribute this to our new law, we know that in Maryland there has been a 15 percent drop in gun deaths in the first eight months of 2014 compared to a similar period in 2013.

The fingerprint licensing requirement is also supported by the overwhelming majority of Marylanders, including 68 percent of gun owners in the state, according to a poll by Goucher College. And, despite dire warnings by pro gun advocates that the fingerprint licensing requirement would infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, the gun lobby has not even challenged the constitutionality of this requirement in court.

Marylanders need a new governor to take office next year who is committed to fully funding and implementing Maryland's life-saving gun violence prevention laws. In response to a Baltimore Sun editorial ("Guns and the governor's race," Sept. 30) asking both candidates for governor to respond to specific questions on how they would do so, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown stated that he would fully fund and implement the Firearms Safety Act of 2013. Larry Hogan has not yet responded to The Sun's editorial and, according to The Washington Post, has told pro gun advocates that he would in fact try to weaken the Firearms Safety Act and other Maryland gun violence prevention laws. Mr. Hogan has also refused to release a questionnaire he submitted to the NRA based upon which the NRA gave him an A- grade. We demand that Mr. Hogan publicly release his NRA questionnaire and publicly respond to The Sun's editorial. The people of Maryland need to know that our next governor will do all he can to make sure the Firearms Safety Act and all of our gun violence prevention laws are fully enforced and implemented to save lives.

Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore

The writer is president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence.

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