Martin O’Malley is the former governor of Maryland who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election cycle. Recently he penned an op-ed that was published in the Boston Globe called “Congress needs to act on gun reform“. I think it’s quite telling where he sits on the gun control fence, but let’s get into this.
These tragedies aren’t isolated incidents or even “accidents” as some have called them — they’re part of a full-blown epidemic.
We cannot let this become the new normal. As we mourn for the lives cut short — for the victims and the loved ones they leave behind — we can’t just sit by and wait for another tragedy to happen again.
We need comprehensive gun safety laws to save lives.
Ah another politician using the words “gun safety” when they really mean “gun control”. That is one thing that has certainly become the new normal. Okay, Governor, if you want the gun safety rules codified, I can go for that. Except they already are in one way or another. Which is why I know you’re not talking about the gun safety rules.
For those who aren’t aware, there are four rules typically listed, and most provide the list published by the NRA (in no particular order): 1. keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire, 2. do not point the barrel at anything you do not intend to destroy (i.e. always keep the barrel pointing in a safe direction), 3. know your target and what is around it, and 4. always treat a firearm as loaded until you confirm it is not.
All of these rules, and the consequences for not following them, are already covered in our laws. I detailed the laws for the State of Missouri in an earlier article, and I’m sure Maryland is no different.
Which, again, is why you’re not talking about “gun safety”. You’re talking about gun control. So stop using the terms “gun safety” unless you’re talking about the generally accepted rules for gun safety.
This is where we should start: The federal government should limit the sale of firearms to tightly regulated, licensed dealers. That means closing the “gun show loophole” once and for all, and banning unlicensed private individuals from selling guns.
And how do you think this will “save lives”? You see typically the way things are supposed to work in the United States is that a politician doesn’t just espouse a policy with some vague goal of “saving lives”. Instead they have to justify the policy they wish to enact. And nowhere in your op-ed do you justify how this policy will “save lives”.
Since you’ve already cited mass shootings, here’s something you should know: the vast majority of guns used in crimes were not obtained through private transfers. James Holmes purchased his firearms through licensed dealers. So did Jared Loughner. Adam Lanza stole what he used by first killing his mother, but those firearms were still obtained legally through licensed dealers — I haven’t seen a report that says otherwise.
So again, how will this policy “save lives”? And how many do you think it’ll save? Would it have stopped any of the mass shootings that have occurred so far this year?
We should also impose greater restrictions on what, to whom, and where dealers can sell guns. That means banning the sale of assault weapons, increasing inspections, and establishing a national gun registry to help law enforcement track down dangerous criminals. It also means requiring gun owners to secure and safely store all firearms in their homes.
Except the assault weapons ban of 1994 did nothing for crime according to the FBI, so why you’re still calling for a failed policy is beyond me. Actually I know exactly why: the guns the AWB would ban look scary and the people you’re pandering to are easily scared. Yet when anti-gunners are introduced to firearms in a controlled manner and shown the reality of firearms and their owners, they actually become pro-gun.
A national gun registry also won’t do jack for crime. In New York they’re actually having difficulty enforcing their registration laws. It’s estimated that over a million guns are not legally registered. What kind of contribution is that having to crime? Hard to say, but it’s also quite likely that everyone eschewing registration is otherwise law-abiding and won’t be using their guns to kill or injure people in mass, and to presume such — which gun control and registration laws do — is unfair in the kindest terms. What happened to the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”? Or does that only apply where you think it should apply?
There is also no evidence that a gun registry will “help law enforcement track down dangerous criminals”, and tells me you have no idea how registries work. A registry merely lists gun owners and the guns they own — at least the ones who voluntarily submit to registration. So if law enforcement finds a weapon — one with discernable serial numbers still on it — they can look up the serial number in the registry and get the registered owner, provided the firearm was actually registered. Is that person the same one who committed the crime? I’ll say that the possibility is extremely slim, because those who will voluntarily submit to registration are going to be the least likely to commit a crime.
So registration doesn’t make it easier to “track down dangerous criminals”, it’s a waste of time as an investigative tool because it’ll provide a false lead at best. And the few instances where it might aid in solving a crime will be far outnumbered by the money wasted maintaining it.
The reforms we put in place included required licensing, fingerprinting, background checks, and safety training. We ensured that these requirements applied to all buyers, whether they were acquiring a gun from a dealer, a secondary sale, or as a private gift.
And at the same time you’ve made it more difficult for the lesser-advantaged in Maryland to acquire a firearm. This is why I say that gun control is racist in its motives and implementation. And again all the people who would voluntarily submit to this are not the people that you need to worry about.
We banned the sale of assault weapons and limited the size of magazines. And, if a firearm was lost or stolen, we required it to be reported immediately to law enforcement.
And if the FBI’s own reports are anything to go by — you know, being the most cited law enforcement agency in the country, since they are the top law enforcement agency — then you’ve actually done nothing to curtail gun crime and violence. Instead you’ve only impaired the law abiding. And as Eliot Roger showed, a person can patiently wade through whatever laws you pass in order to commit mayhem. Regardless of what laws you pass, they will either adjust for them, or find a way to go around them.
One question about the magazine limit: does it apply to law enforcement as well? Have all law enforcement agencies also limited their magazine capacities down to the new legal limit? I’m guessing not,
Our goal in Maryland, as it should be for the nation, was to reduce mass shootings and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
ShootingTracker.com shows six “mass shootings” in Baltimore so far for 2015, one in Capitol Heights and another in Springdale, for a total of eight. For 2014, they’re showing one in Baltimore, one in Camp Spring, and one in Seat Pleasant. Just three for 2014.
And those laws were passed and implemented starting in 2013. Nice try, Governor. Looks like your laws aren’t doing jack shit.
While the public strongly backs common-sense gun safety reforms, Congress has refused to act on them.
Actually the polls are misleading and results mixed.
And you’re trying to call them “common sense gun safety reforms” when the majority of law enforcement — you know, the ones who are actually quite well versed on how all of this words — don’t believe they will work. They don’t back any of the ideas that gun control proponents have devised and do not feel they will actually help reduce crime.
Their fear of retribution has led them to block even the most basic gun safety reforms.
So the NRA is to blame for all of this? Oh no, Governor. The NRA is backed by millions of gun owners across the country, but they represent only a fraction of the gun owning population. Most don’t belong to any organization or provide any kind of donation or support to them. It is that otherwise silent majority of gun owners that even Democrats fear. The same silent majority that cost Democrats the House and Senate in 1994, the election year in which even Senator Dianne Feinstein barely held on to her seat.
A lot of senior Democrats — Feinstein excluded — remember what happened in 1994. That is why they overwhelmingly rejected gun control in 2013. It has cost politicians their jobs, and will continue to do so.
Stopping the preventable deaths of American citizens should not be a partisan issue, or the purview of special interests. These members of Congress need to find the courage to do the right thing, without fear of the NRA’s clout, come next election.
It’s not enough just to “have the conversation.” It’s time for actual leadership and action.
In other words, it’s time to implement what you want, the rest of the public be damned, because you know what’s best for all of us. Do I have that right, Governor?
We’ve been having the conversation. You just don’t like the direction it has gone. As I showed above, the laws your State enacted in 2013 have not met the goals you expect, and probably never will. Gun control is a failed policy. We’ve seen it time and again. The FBI said that the assault weapons ban did nothing for crime in the United States. The top States in the US for crime rates are predominantly gun control states.
And gun control in other countries shows it to be a monumental failure: while gun crime may have declined, other crimes rose to take its place. Even countries that have banned guns still have problems with gun crime. How does that work if your pesky laws are supposed to save the world, save lives, and prevent senseless deaths? In Australia after their 1996 draconian laws were passed, assaults actually rose. Murders and manslaughters declined, but mass murders still continued, including this past December when Cairns buried 8 minors between the ages of 18 months and 14 years, all killed in by knife.
So spare me your gun control rhetoric, Governor, that you’re trying to dress up under the guise of “gun safety”. We’ve all heard it before. You’re just not liking that a lot of the people aren’t buying into it. It’s one of the reasons I’m hoping Bernie Sanders gets the Democrat nomination. At least he knows that gun control on the by and large does not and has not worked.b