Maryland Senate Bill 281 does not prevent violent crime: Don't support it - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Maryland Senate Bill 281 does not prevent violent crime: Don’t support it

To the Editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner:

As a husband, a father of a 19 month old daughter, I strongly oppose Senate Bill 281.

Senate Bill 281 represents NO viable solutions to prevent violent crime. These anti‑gun proposals have been tried in the past as an easy “solution” – and have been proven resounding failures across the country. 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 obey the law and be left defenseless.

The “assault weapon” is a politically‑created misnomer. 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 “machine guns” and are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and long‑standing state laws.

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.

Regarding the restriction of magazine capacity, the Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008) 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.”


At the Maryland State House, supporters recently came armed with with petitions, flags and megaphones. Some held up signs and shouted mantras like: “Criminals prefer unarmed victims,” or “The Bill of Rights is not moot!” and “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ don’t you understand?”

Millions of rifles and tens of millions of handguns designed for self‑defense are designed to use magazines that hold more than ten 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 arbitrarily limited in the number of rounds of ammunition available.

SB 281 would also require a state permit to purchase, rent, or otherwise be in possession of a handgun. This permit would be obtained from the Maryland State Police after prospective gun purchasers complete a mandatory 8‑hour 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 his or her legally possessed firearm every five years. All of these new requirements have fees that only penalize law‑abiding gun owners.

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. Further, Maryland already has a de‑facto registration scheme in places as the Maryland State Police keep records of legally purchased firearms.

Scott C. Athen, Esquire
Owings Mills, MD


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  1. Registered Independent says:

    Time for this Marylander of 37 years to move to PA or VA. I can’t take anymore. This will happen and it will not save any lives. Law biding citizens are the only ones that will be affected by this. If people want to mass kill they still will. Good guys with guns rarely bring down these crazes down, they take them selves out when they have had thier fill. The democrats have a tight grip on Maryland and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. There are many up coming issues the people of Maryland will have to deal with soon. Some of witch are higher sales tax, higher gas tax, and putting a stop to the death penalty. All to assure the democrats stay in power so they may impose their will upon the people.

  2. Ken says:

    I see this legislation not only as a gun grab effort but also as another money grab attempt. The taxes (presented as “fees”) will impose yet another financial burden on the good law-abiding citizens of our State.

  3. Andrew, Huntingtown Md. says:

    If Maryland citizens are to be limited to 10 round magazines our police force should set an example and be limited to the same in their service weapon.

    Politicians hate to admit laws they passed were ineffective. They would much rather parade a new piece of legislation designed to accomplish the same goals the previous law(s) failed to accomplish. Maryland already has laws designed to prevent criminals from accessing guns, yet as the article states, they are still able to get them an do harm to others.

    This whole debate is a major case of a failure to enforce existing gun laws and the resulting attempt to punish law abiding citizens. I applaud our lawmakers for working to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms, but please do not do so at the expense of the average Marylander.

    Tell your local representatives to strike down Sb281.

  4. We need many more people like this author,to stand tall great work……

  5. Arch says:

    Well written and truthful. Well done.
    Most arguments for gun conrol are baised on emotion, not facts.


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