Utopia for some. Unrealistic in the real world.
As you know Maryland has VERY strict gun control laws. Here’s a sample:
- Magazine capacity restrictions: Illegal to purchase, sell or manufacture magazines with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds within Maryland. However, possession of magazines greater than 10 rounds is legal if purchased out of state. These may not, however, be transferred to a subsequent owner unless done so outside the state of Maryland.
- Background checks required for private sales: All private transfers of regulated firearms (handguns or assault weapons) must be processed through a licensed dealer or designated law enforcement agency which must conduct a background check on the buyer.
- “Weapons of War” ban:Maryland’s ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons and its 10-round limit on gun magazines were upheld by a federal appeals court in a decision that met with a strongly worded dissent. “For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland’s law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home, and it should at least be subject to strict scrutiny review before it is allowed to stand.”
- Regulated firearms according to Maryland State Police: “Regulated firearm. — “Regulated firearm” means: (1) a handgun; or (2) a firearm that is any of the following specific assault weapons or their copies, regardless of which company produced and manufactured that assault weapon: See the full list here (which includes Bushmaster semi-auto rifle.)
- Regulated Firearm Purchases (also from the Maryland State Police): “Any person who wishes to purchase, rent, or transfer a regulated firearm must complete a MSP 77R Application and Affidavit to purchase a regulated firearm. This includes individuals acquiring a regulated firearm through a firearm dealer, secondary sale/private sale, gift, or a person who wishes to voluntarily register a regulated firearm shall complete a Maryland State Police Application and Affidavit to Purchase a Regulated Firearm (MSP 77R).”
If you’d like to try and decipher the complete range of gun laws in Maryland you are welcome to do so here. It is vast and the Maryland legislature web site is not search-friendly.
The gun control laws in Baltimore DON’T stop the criminals. We’ve done many blog posts about the gun violence that permeates Baltimore. See the following:
- Baltimore sets record for killings per capita
- Baltimore lawmaker’s grandson killed in Labor Day weekend violence
- Baltimore’s “Don’t kill anybody” weekend: 3 shot, 2 fatally
- “Don’t kill anybody”: Murder-free weekend urged in Baltimore
- Baltimore mayor: Murder rate out of control
- 78% increase in homicides in Baltimore since Freddie Gray riots
- Baltimore residents blame record-high murder rate on lower police presence
- Baltimore’s rising violence claims the lives of seven students from same school
As for the last bulleted item, Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Rector did a report on January 1, 2018 and interviewed kids from Excel Academy, a high school that provides second chances for troubled or vulnerable youth. The students didn’t offer much in the way of solutions to the gun violence they face other than getting involved in political campaigns. As one student said, “she doesn’t know what 2018 will bring.”
Now, after the Parkland shooting, reporter Rector revisited the kids at Excel Academy on March 1 and this time they offered more concrete solutions. Here are some solutions the kids offered as “they want leaders to listen to what they have to say:”
- Install metal detectors at all schools. (This is one idea that I support.)
- Better background checks. (The NICS is only as good as the information reported and entered in the database and government agencies responsible for maintaining these records have a track record of failing to forward information to NICS.)
- More laws and restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of those with violent tendencies or mental illness. (There are hundreds of gun laws in Maryland to prevent this from already happening.)
- Police need to end the firearm black market. Problem is, as students said, they don’t understand why police seem oblivious to the city’s robust underground gun trade. As one student said, “…buying a gun on the black market in Baltimore is much too easy. It’s as easy was walking down the street.” (If it is that easy to buy a gun on the black market, why aren’t local law enforcement officials doing anything to stop the proliferation of easy access to illegal guns?)
- Firearm training for those who wish to purchase a gun. (Any law-abiding citizen and supporter of the Second Amendment will ensure they are trained. Are more government agencies going to be responsible for guaranteeing this item is fulfilled? The same government agencies that can’t properly update the NICS database are now going to ensure that you are “properly trained” to own a firearm?)
- And their other solution? They want guns gone, including the AR-15 and handguns associated with most of the killings in Baltimore. (Just one little detail stopping that, kids: the Second Amendment.)
There’s a common theme among the students’ solutions to gun violence: more government action is needed.
The government and their laws designed to protect people didn’t stop the Parkland school shooter. The shooter could have faced charges before his massacre had law enforcement done their job. According to the Miami Herald, “the shooter threatened classmates, posted photos of himself holding guns, made violent statements online and was repeatedly described to authorities as a potential “school shooter.
His troubling behavior gave law enforcement plenty of opportunities to investigate and arrest him — and even take away his guns — long before he shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, according to interviews with former South Florida prosecutors and legal experts (read the whole story here).”
Here’s my question: If government agencies can’t/won’t enforce current laws, what makes the kids believe that more bureaucracy will solve the problem? And what makes them think criminals will obey more gun control laws?
While I feel for the kids who are scared, looking to the government to solve Baltimore’s gun violence is not the solution. Proof of city officials’ dismal failure to protect their citizens is in their crime statistics.