Response to The Baltimore Sun's “Guns and the new Supreme Court”

Rarely have so many misguided arguments been contained in so few words as those contained in The Sun’s January 24, 2019 editorial, “Guns and the new Supreme Court.” It's hard to know where to begin.  But let’s start with Baltimore and the assertion in the editorial that “Baltimore’s murder problem and its gun problem are essentially one in the same.”  Rubbish.

The “problem” is not a “gun” problem, but a “criminal” problem created by persons who are overwhelmingly prohibited from possessing guns but who are nonetheless obtaining and using guns for violent crime.  And, as the Sun itself has highlighted in prior articles, many of these criminals go unpunished.  Guns are merely tools.  Violent criminals are the “problem.”  The answer to the “gun problem” lies in the use of existing state law that already severely punishes the use of guns in violent crime.  That takes a States Attorney who is willing to prosecute and obtain convictions for these sorts of crimes.  Maybe the States Attorney’s Office needs help in doing so. 

Since 2013, when the General Assembly enacted some of the most severe gun control in the country, the murder rate and the violent crime rate in Baltimore has done nothing but gone up.  But that 2013 legislation, misnamed as the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, has effectively prevented the law-abiding citizens from obtaining handguns to defend themselves from these criminal predators.  In 2013, lawmakers promised us safety through gun control, yet in 2012 there were only 218 homicides in Baltimore. In 2017, there were 343 murders and in 2018, 309 murders.  Baltimore, the largest city in a state whose lawmakers pride themselves on strict gun control laws, leads the entire United States in per capita homicides.  Ordinary citizens are left to the tender mercies of criminals who care not an iota about gun control laws.

And nothing can be more telling about the failure of Maryland and Baltimore politicians to control criminals, than the fact that Johns Hopkins, home of the anti-gun Center for Gun Policy and Research, now seeks more guns to protect the campus.  How ironic that a think-tank that tirelessly promotes gun control, that is funded in part by the gun-grabbing Michael Bloomberg, who is himself protected by armed guards wherever he goes, would protect its people by, wait for it, proposing that the answer to armed criminals is armed defense.  That is acknowledgement that Maryland’s already-strict gun control laws are not working.

The editorial’s pogrom against lawful gun owners is exemplified by the Sun’s suggestion that allowing the law-abiding citizen to carry guns for their own self-protection would somehow represent a return to the “Wild West.”  Yet, currently, 42 states and the District of Columbia allow citizens to carry outside the home with “shall issue” permits.  The facts are universally accepted that persons with “shall issue” carry permits have a violent crime rate of a small fraction of the police.  Such persons are literally the most law-abiding people in America.  Yet, the violent crime rate in virtually all of those jurisdictions is less, sometimes far less, than that of Baltimore. It would appear that the “Wild West” is considerably safer. 

The Sun does not take issue with the Supreme Court’s holding in Heller and McDonald that Second Amendment recognizes as fundamental the right of “the people” to keep and bear arms for their own self-defense.  But, nothing in the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller or McDonald purports to limit the right of self-defense to the home.  That odd notion has been rejected by every federal court of appeals decision to consider the issue, including three circuits (including the D.C. Circuit) which have squarely held that the right of self-defense is fully applicable outside the home.  Every other circuit to have reached the issue, including the Fourth Circuit (which includes Maryland) has readily assumed the right of self-defense extends outside the home.  Maybe the Sun should bone up on the case law before it opines on the reach of Heller and McDonald and the Second Amendment.

Not content with condemning lawful gun owners, the Sun then libels Justice Kavanaugh by suggesting that he and Justice Gorsuch would somehow “rewrite the Constitution” in the pending New York City case which the Court agreed to review this last Tuesday.  Perhaps the Sun should take a look at the facts of that New York case before bemoaning the Court’s decision to consider it.   The law at issue barred persons who were licensed to keep a gun at their home in the City from ever taking their licensed gun, unloaded and in a locked container, outside the City, for target practice, competitions or even to another home elsewhere in New York State.  Instead, these persons were only permitted to visit one of seven firing ranges within the City (with a population of 8.5 million people).  This sort of law is utterly irrational and, indeed, New York City never even attempted to make a case that such transport outside the City somehow created a risk to public safety.  It is nothing less than gun control for the sake of mindless gun control.  Perhaps the Sun would like to see a version of that law in Baltimore?  Somehow, we doubt that it would make a smidgen’s worth of difference in the violence that pervades Baltimore.

 

Sincerely,

Mark W. Pennak, President

Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.
1332 Cape St. Claire Road #342
Annapolis, MD 21409

 

Tags: Gun Control, shall issue, baltimore, editorial, supreme court, heller, mcdonald, msi


Latest News

Court Uphold's MD's Taking of Rapid Fire Trigger Activators

 

In a sharply split, 2-1 decision, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that Maryland may ban the possession of "Rapid Fire Trigger Activators" by existing owners without paying just compensation under Fifth Amendment or the Maryland Constitution.  The majority ruled that no just compensation was owed to existing, lawful owners because the ban “does not require owners of rapid fire trigger activators to turn them over to the Government or to a third party.”  In short, as far as this majority is concerned, the State is free to ban the possession of any personal property without paying just compensation unless the State puts the property into its own pocket or the pocket of a third party.  If that is the law, then no personal property, of any kind, is safe from the grasping clutches of the General Assembly.  For example, the State could ban possession of your existing car and not pay a dime.  The dissenting opinion ably demolishes the majority's reasoning.  Needless to say, we will be seeking further review.

You can read the ruling HERE.  Stay tuned.

Maryland Shall Issue will continue to fight for the interests and rights of its members and the public, but to do so requires resources and your help. Consider joining or donating to MSI.

Background Checks for Firearms Purchases and Licenses Interrupted

Due to a systems failure on the morning of June 21st within the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections Services (DPSCS), the Maryland State Police (MSP) was no longer able to complete background checks for Handgun Qualification Licenses (HQL), regulated firearms transfers (77R transfers), and Wear and Carry Permit background investigations. DPSCS have since restored their systems and the MSP have been processing background checks as fast as they can. We appreciate the efforts of the State Police to remedy the backlog as quickly as possible, though the bureaucratic processes created by the General Assembly compounds these issues for Marylanders who are merely trying to protect themselves.

From the MSP:

Background Checks Underway After Data System Restored

(PIKESVILLE, MD) — Maryland State Police Licensing Division employees worked throughout the night and will continue to work around-the-clock to address pending regulated firearm purchase applications after a state data system was restored late yesterday.

At about 8:30 p.m. yesterday, the State Police Licensing Division was notified by officials at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services that the data system had been restored and access to background check information was available.  Employees at the Licensing Division immediately began completing background check investigations on the regulated firearm purchase applications that had been pending since a system failure occurred on June 21st.

Licensing Division employees worked throughout the night and will continue to work around-the-clock until all pending and incoming regulated firearm purchase applications have been reviewed and are being completed within Maryland’s required seven day waiting period.  Even with employees working 24-hours-a-day to address this, the process is anticipated to take several days to complete.  The Licensing Division continues to work with Maryland’s licensed firearms dealers to track any regulated firearm released after the waiting period, but before full completion of the background check process.

As of 4:00 p.m. yesterday, information from Maryland firearms dealers indicated that of the 893 firearm purchase applications eligible for release, 54 regulated firearms had been released to customers after the seven day waiting period had passed.  The individuals receiving those firearms were the first ones background checks were conducted on during the night.  There were no prohibiting factors found for any of those applicants.


As far as we know, there's no evidence or information to suggest that anyone's personal information was comprimised while the systems were down and none of the applicants whose dealer released firearms to them failed or would have failed background checks.

While the MSP have asked the Dealers to hold off on releasing any regulated firearms (handguns) until the checks completed, dealers may release regulated firearms on the 8th day after a transaction at their discretion. From the MSP's latest advisory on 6/25:

Should the RFD elect to exercise their statutory option to release a regulated firearm on the eighth day, we ask that the procedure listed below be followed:

1. The RFD will access their Licensing Portal;
2. locate the application to be released within the “SUBMITTED APPLICATIONS” section;
3. print a copy of the application;
4. verify that all information in “Section 4” is accurate;
5. both the RFD and the applicant will sign and complete “Section 6;”
6. scan and send the completed copy of the 77R to .

Additional Coverage:
Maryland Handgun Background Check System Crashes, Leaving Gun Buyers in Limbo - Washington Free Beacon
Citing a ‘catastrophic hardware failure,' Maryland State Police report delays in gun background checks and licenses - Baltimore Sun
Guns sold without completed background checks in Maryland - WUSA9
After ‘Catastrophic Hardware Failure,’ Dozens Of Guns Were Released Without Completed Background Checks In Maryland - WAMU

Contact Info

Headquarters:

Maryland Shall Issue®, Inc.
9613 Harford Rd
Ste C #1015
Baltimore, MD 21234-2150

Phone:  410-849-9197
Email: 
Web:   www.marylandshallissue.org