Governor Throws Public Focus on Misguided and Ineffective Proposals, Avoids Viable Solutions to Promote Public Safety and Welfare
Anti-gun Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s (D) statement outlining gun control proposals on January 14 was a cause of alarm to all law-abiding residents in the Old Line State, and his press conference today only confirms that he is more interested in politics that target the law abiding than responsible governing to limit crime. O'Malley will be pushing a broad gun control package through the Maryland General Assembly soon, which will include attacks on your Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage that O’Malley claims are “common sense.” However, these anti-gun proposals have been tried in the past as an easy “solution” - and have been proven resounding failures across the country. Despite this, O’Malley continues to loudly advocate for these same failed proposals and ignore simple reality. Criminals simply do not obey gun bans, register their firearms or comply with any gun control schemes. As a result, only law-abiding citizens will comply and be left defenseless. The following misguided policies can be found in O’Malley’s extremist gun control package:
- An across-the-board ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, under the political misnomer “assault weapons.” Contrary to claims by the media and the Governor himself, these are not “military weapons designed for human carnage.” In fact, there are vast legal and mechanical differences between a semi-automatic firearm and a fully automatic “military” firearm. Fully-automatic firearms are defined as “machineguns” under federal law, and are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and long-standing state laws. They are not readily available to the public, are registered federally, and have been banned in many states for years. Hollywood movie studios are allowed to use fully-automatic firearms for movie-making purposes, so most people are familiar with them from their use by fictional action heroes with exaggerated amounts of make-believe gunfire. However, other than for gun control supporters’ misleading propaganda purposes, fully-automatic firearms have nothing substantial to do with semi-automatic “assault weapon” legislation or laws. Gun control supporters, including those in the TV and print “news” media, have contributed to the public’s confusion by erroneously describing semi-automatic firearms as if they were rapid-firing fully-automatic machine guns used by the military. Semi-automatics and all other firearms, such as bolt-actions, pump-actions, lever-actions, revolvers, double-barreled shotguns, and single-shot firearms, fire only once when the trigger is pulled. They’re not "unpredictable weapons designed for mass carnage," as many in the news media would have you believe, but are tools commonly used by the law abiding for self-defense, hunting and target shooting for more than a century.
- Restrict magazine capacity to no more than ten rounds. While O’Malley incessantly repeats that his proposals do not infringe on Second Amendment rights and that he is not going after handguns, his claims become impossible to believe with the inclusion of this limit on self-defense. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court observed that "the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right," and it declared that the amendment "guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation." Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding." The same would certainly hold true for modern firearm parts, such as magazines. The Court also said that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms that are "in common use," a standard met ten times over by firearms designed to use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and by the magazines themselves. Millions of rifles and tens of millions of handguns designed for self-defense are designed to use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Because the Second Amendment protects the right to self-defense, a magazine limit is a direct attack on this right, as a defensive use of a firearm could be unsuccessful if the defender were limited in the number of rounds of ammunition available. Further, as history bears testament, the federally-imposed magazine limit in effect between 1994 and 2004 had no effect on crime.
- Restrict Ammunition purchasing and possession. Again, this tactic has been a proven failure, and only limits the law-abiding. There is no discernable benefit to enacting this type of legislation.
- Require a state permit to purchase for a firearm which would be obtained from the Maryland State Police after prospective gun purchasers complete a mandatory gun safety class, submit their fingerprints to a state-run database, and undergo an extensive state-funded background check – in addition to the federal background check.Additionally, every new Maryland gun owner would have to reapply for a license to keep their legally possessed firearm every five years. These laws serve no crime-fighting purpose, because criminals don’t register themselves or their guns, and most get guns from theft or the black market. Registration has led to gun confiscation in some foreign countries and some U.S. states. Additionally, the Supreme Court has ruled that requiring felons to register guns would violate their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
On many levels, O’Malley’s proposed legislation over-reaches and misses the mark. It will do nothing to stop crime and will only penalize the law-abiding. While the legislation has yet to be introduced, one thing is for certain: Anti-gun politicians are attacking your rights as an easy target because they will not focus on real solutions for the criminal acts of violence, such as in Baltimore by gangs and drug dealers. The NRA-ILA will continue to send updates on this matter as details become available to us. However, it is of the utmost importance that you act NOW to stop all attempts to ban firearms and enact more ineffective and onerous gun control laws. Call and e-mail your state Senators and Delegates IMMEDIATELY and let your voice be heard on this matter.
Contact information for your state legislators can be found by clicking here.