When the killings break out of Baltimore City

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I’m glad I live in Maryland, a state that has banned assault weapons that mass murderers seem to prefer, but that ban, which went into effect in 2013, has not changed the violence in Baltimore City. In fact, during those past 9 years, homicides have increased dramatically in the city.

I fully agree with any and all enacted measures(Federal or State) to provide gun safety such as smart guns, increased wait times, background checks, and red flag laws like the one we are fortunate to have in Maryland. Ban assault rifles and ghost guns nationally. It is long overdue. We can and must make guns safer.

We should be outraged at the senseless killings in Buffalo and Texas yet people in our cities live with that level of violence everyday. Usually the violence is contained in areas of our cities that most people avoid. Mass shootings place that violence in places we don’t expect such as schools, churches, synagogues, and shopping centers.

The violence the folks in the city live with everyday breaks out in some place we thought was safe. No one should have to live with that violence anywhere in this country, including our cities.

Folks demand changes after mass shootings yet the homicides that occur each and every month in Baltimore exceed the carnage of either of the last two mass shootings in Buffalo or Texas. Children are shot frequently as collateral damage in our city. They weren’t in school at the time. They were just playing outside. A child in Baltimore is just as precious as a child in Uvalde.

Our beloved city is one long deadly never-ending string of mass shootings. Ten shot, one dead, 60 rounds fired, on a lovely spring Tuesday in Baltimore. And it was just a normal April in Baltimore this year when there were 33 homicides and 50 non-fatal shootings.

As the violence increases, people buy more guns. Since 2019, about 7.5 million adults have become new gun owners as sales spiked along with Covid 19. Your friends and neighbors have lots of new guns. As the violence ratchets up, we are caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence, fear, guns, and more violence.

Overall, 30% of Americans own a gun and 40% of Americans live in a household with a gun.  According to Statista, 61% of Republicans own guns, 21% of Democrats own guns, and 27% of independents own guns. Fear is a universal motivator. Over 50,000 new guns are sold everyday in the US as reported by CBS News. It’s not just Republicans buying guns.

The 2nd Amendment is not an obstruction to gun safety, a term less threatening than gun control. We love freedom but too much can be just as bad as too little. The Founders of our nation knew that as well because they understood the duality of human nature. The Constitution provides for the right to bear arms so that people could protect themselves from tyranny.

But like any right, it is not unlimited. We must heavily regulate all guns, including rifles, within the boundaries of the 2nd Amendment. Handguns are regulated, long guns are not and that must change. If everyone needs a permit, no one is being treated differently. If the state would institute a 4-week wait time for background checks, training and evaluation, I’m on board. If the citizens of our state want to raise the age to 21 for gun ownership, count me in that number.

Despite the progressive gun laws enacted by the Maryland Assembly, none have reduced the gun violence in the city. Maryland’s ban on assault weapons has been upheld in Federal courts but we are only one of a handful of states that have enacted that ban. The red flag law that Maryland instituted is a good idea that appears to work well everywhere except Baltimore City. In 2020, the Baltimore Sun reported that of all the political jurisdictions in the state, Baltimore City citizens have rarely invoked the red flag law. The reason 17 states have lower per capita rates of gun homicides than Maryland is due to the killings in Baltimore.

We can not live in a modern civilized nation with numerous mass shootings and more importantly, with the daily level of violence that has been acceptable in our cities. For years the country has ignored the violence in our cities. It appears that only when that violence erupts outside of our cities, the nation takes notice. Other than political leaders in the city, the vast majority of Marylanders have been willing to live with the carnage in Baltimore as long as it does not come to their neighborhood.

The people of Maryland are ultimately and collectively responsible for the violence and death in our state’s largest city and it is our responsibility to fix it.

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