Like many of Gov. Martin O'Malley's constituents, I strongly urge him to withdraw any legislation to ban so-called "assault weapons" and "high capacity" magazines. He should stop any legislation that creates gun-free zones and not make laws that hurt law-abiding citizens and hinder commerce in this state. Paradoxically, gun control clears a path for violence and makes aggression more likely.
Creating gun-free zones doesn't make a difference to a criminal who intends to do harm. If gun-free zones made a difference, why would the worst shootings consistently happen in gun-free zones such as schools, malls and theaters? Shootings are unheard of at gun and knife shows, the antithesis of a gun-free zone. James Holmes bought a ticket at the Town Center at Aurora shopping mall, entered the theater, and sat in the front row; about 20 minutes into the film, he left the building through an emergency exit door, which he propped open. He knew there would be no resistance in this gun-free zone.
It's pure nonsense to think that any one weapon is more dangerous than another. Or that a "high capacity" magazine will limit carnage by a criminal. Three 10-round magazines are just a lethal as one 30-round magazine. Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Cho used two firearms during the attacks: a .22-caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic handgun and a 9 mm semi-automatic Glock 19 handgun. He carried several chains, locks, a hammer, a knife, two handguns with 19 magazines holding 10 or 15 rounds, and nearly 400 rounds of ammunition.
There is nothing wrong with the gun laws that are on the books now. I urge the governor to look at the current laws and seek ways to enforce them. Under current law, there are ten classes of persons prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.
They are persons convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, fugitives from justice, drug addicts, persons adjudicated as "mentally defective" or committed to mental institutions, unauthorized immigrants, persons dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military, persons who have renounced their U.S. citizenship, those under court-order restraints related to harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner, persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and anyone indicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
All the recent atrocities were committed by someone who should have been identified by current law.
No matter what anyone may think of the NRA as an organization, they are correct in one respect: "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Instead of passing nonsense laws that hinder law-abiding citizens and put us at further risk, I urge Mr. O'Malley to take action on bills like the one filed by Del. Michael Smigiel that seeks to address the inequities found in Maryland's concealed-carry law by repealing the "good and substantial reason" clause that has long restricted the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm in the state of Maryland for the purpose of self-defense. I strongly support this bill and the efforts of those lawmakers in Annapolis who support this good cause.
Larry Orluskie, Shady Side
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