Accuracy in Media

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Wednesday I traveled to Annapolis to testify in opposition to SB 281, the painfully misnamedFirearms Safety Act of 2013.” I was not alone. Media outlets counted “hundreds” but there were probably at least 5,000. According to the office of Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian Frosh, 2,444 people originally signed up to testify. Another 200 or so signed handwritten sheets to voice their opinions. Within the Miller Senate Office Building, the hearing room and two overflow rooms were closed as they reached their rated capacity. The hallways were jammed with people. Thousands of people milled about the State House courtyard outside.

I was told it was likely the largest crowd ever signed up to testify in Maryland history. They have not taken a count of supporters vs. opponents, but most opposed.

There were actually four gun-related bills slated for discussion: SB 281, SB 266, SB 420 and SB 228, but the primary focus was SB 281. Hearings began at approximately 1:00 p.m. Chairman Frosh allotted eight hours for testimony, four hours for each side.

Governor O’Malley began the testimony, stating in his remarks that they were only making “sensible” proposals and weren’t trying to take away anyone’s gun rights. In response, Carroll County Senator Joseph Getty relayed concerns from retired law enforcement members in his community who had faced death threats from criminals, afraid their gun rights would be lost. O’Malley replied without irony that there would be exceptions for law enforcement.

Thirty-three people testified in support of the bill, primarily Democrats in various state and local government posts who Governor O’Malley could rely on for political support, and a few “expert witnesses.” A few local leftist advocacy groups also testified. They told us not to worry about the Second Amendment because, after all, the U.S. Constitution was a “living document.” They added that Bigfoot has been sighted in Montgomery County, butterflies are free and unicorns really do fly.

The last few O’Malley supporters trailed out of the building before 8 p.m., but at that point Chairman Frosh said there were still over 1,000 opponents who had not yet spoken. He cut off further testimony at 9 p.m., but allowed those still waiting to come to the podium and announce their names. When I left at 9:30, there remained a line that stretched out of the hearing room, down the hall, around the corner, along the main hallway and down the stairs to the first floor.

As is typically the case, the O’Malley crowd trotted out an endless stream of straw-man arguments to plead support for this awful legislation. Proponents described the gruesome impacts of gun wounds, the violent-crime rate, scary magazine capacities of some semi-automatic firearms, and the entirely false characterization of “assault” weapons subject to this new legislation as machine guns.

Yes, these are straw-man arguments. We all know that gunshots cause terrible wounds. We all know that people are wounded and killed every year by other people with guns, and we all agree it is tragic. But it is utterly irrelevant to this debate because restrictions and/or bans on firearms—or any weapon of criminal choice for that matter—don’t affect criminal behavior in any material way. Virtually no crime is committed with legally owned firearms. Last week, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker told Bill Maher:

“In the analysis of gun murders and shootings in my city, I could only find one in the entire time I’ve been mayor—and unfortunately there have been hundreds and hundreds—where a person who was involved in a shooting where they had their gun legally, where they legally acquired their gun. The guns that are causing carnage in our cities, my city and our country, every single year are acquired illegally.”

Both statistics and common sense tell us this must be so. Law-abiding citizens abide by the law. Criminals obtain guns illegally and have many methods to do so. American street gangs are a major source of inner city gun violence. Does anyone seriously believe another gun law will disarm them?

In Maryland, regulated firearms are currently subject to both the federal NICS instant check required of all firearms purchases and a state check with a seven-day waiting period. The new proposals would ban many guns and effectively create massive new regulatory burdens for legal firearms purchasers and owners, under the threat of incarceration, who will also have to be fingerprinted. This new bill will check the check. New handgun owners will also have to pay a $100 license fee every five years and take a 16-hour course in firearms safety at their own expense. Will the criminals enroll too?

O’Malley’s only justification for these new, punitive restrictions is that they may discourage “straw purchases,” i.e., legal purchases made on behalf of a prohibited person. Is the seven-day waiting period not enough of a discouragement? Apparently not. And what happens when O’Malley and Co. discover, as they will, that these new onerous restrictions have no impact on illegal gun crime? When the next mass shooting occurs—and it will, precisely because the gun ban crowd is taking exactly the wrong approach to this problem—there will be calls for a complete ban, because, they will say, we didn’t do enough.

That is what they really want anyway, so let’s indulge them in a thought experiment. What if we completely banned all firearms? Let’s assume it actually worked and Adam Lanza had no recourse to firearms. Could he not jump in a car and attack kids at a crowded bus stop, perhaps killing more? How about firebombs?

For the 1999 Columbine, Colorado High School attack, the two perpetrators, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, manufactured a total of 99 explosive devices. This included two diversionary bombs set elsewhere in town that exploded before the attack, 30 bombs that exploded at the school, 46 more that did not explode, 13 in their cars and eight more at their residences. Police determined that the two unexploded propane bombs left in the cafeteria could have killed up to 488 students, all who were at the cafeteria when the bombs were set to detonate.

Great Britain, which has had a complete ban on handguns and semi-automatic weapons since 1998, is held up as the consummate example of gun control. Yes, Britain does have lower firearms homicide rates than the U.S., but the trend in Britain is up. Since the ban, British gun crime of all types has skyrocketed. Handgun crime increased 123 percent between 1998 and 2002 and has remained well above its pre-ban levels. Despite increasingly draconian gun laws, gun crime in Britain has increased almost 600 percent since 1978.

One cannot argue that even complete gun bans would prevent criminals and terrorists in the U.S. from obtaining guns. There is a robust international trade in small arms, much of it illegal. The world market is awash in weapons from past wars and defunct governments. Many of these are genuine assault weapons, i.e., capable of fully automatic fire. Most weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartels are of this type, and did not come from U.S. dealers as alleged by the gun control crowd, because they are much more difficult and expensive to obtain in the U.S.

In 1996, U.S. Customs seized a shipment of 2,000 AK-47 genuine, fully automatic assault rifles from the China Overseas Shipping Co. (COSCO), the merchant marine fleet of Communist China’s Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). It was the largest seizure of its kind in U.S. history. The intended recipients were allegedly Los Angeles-based illegal Chinese immigrant gangs.

New Americans! Who knew?

COSCO delivers thousands of containers to the U.S. each day. Do you think this was the only shipment? More recently China has been implicated in a scheme to sell surface-to-air missiles to purchasers inside the U.S. Governor O’Malley has enthusiastically cultivated business with these “friends.”

More New Americans!

Gun banners argue, wouldn’t all this be worth it if we could even just save one life? They never consider the other side of the argument, i.e., what are we losing by restricting law-abiding citizens’ access to firearms? A Justice Department study found that firearms are used about 82,000 times per year to defend against violent assault and property crimes. How many of those 82,000 have to lose their lives to save the one?

This is a minimum estimate. The actual number is likely much larger as many crimes go unreported and many defensive uses of firearms prevent a crime from occurring at all, so there is nothing to report. In an illustrative case familiar to this writer, an elderly man with a concealed-carry permit was approached in a Philadelphia parking lot by a group of young men who obviously were targeting him. While they were still a good distance off, he lifted his jacket to reveal his holstered weapon. The men fled. He got in his car and drove off.

During the Rodney King riots in 1992, many Korean business owners stood guard over their property with their firearms prominently displayed. Korean businesses suffered a large proportion of the losses during the riots, and those firearms proved critical to their survival when police abandoned the area and left them to face the rioters alone. They were exceedingly grateful for high-capacity magazines.

The issue of “gun free” zones was mentioned but not seriously discussed. Allow me. In 1983, the city of Takoma Park, Maryland declared itself a “Nuclear Free Zone” in a silly nod to the nuclear disarmament movement. Of course, Takoma Park, proud of its lunatic-left heritage, has doubled down with a 20 year “nuclear free” anniversary announcement in 2003.

Does any serious person believe this sentiment will deter any nation intent on obtaining and/or using nuclear weapons? Does any serious person believe that Iran would be dissuaded from attacking Washington, DC because Takoma Park declared itself “nuclear free?” Do they think that the nuclear blast and fallout would somehow circumvent the enlightened Takoma Park?

The same kind of mindless logic animates proponents of “gun free zones.” Once again, it makes the absurd assumption that people of violent intent will be deterred by some idiotic pronouncement. The opposite is true. The Virginia Tech massacre occurred in a “gun free” zone. The Aurora, Colorado killer chose the one movie theater with an advertised “gun free” policy. Sandy Hook was “gun free.” These kinds of mass killers choose locations where they will face no armed opposition. The minute anyone with a gun appears, they commit suicide or flee.

Gun free zones should properly be called “free fire” zones, because they assure the shooter will be unimpeded in his efforts. Advocates of “gun free” insanity can claim at least partial responsibility for these mass murders.

Disgraceful.

The one positive aspect of these hearings was the focus on mental illness. Mass killers are mentally ill. Psychiatric medications may play a role as well. According to polls by both Rasmussen and Gallup taken shortly after Newtown, most Americans believe treating mental illness is the most important factor in preventing these mass crimes.

But if every Adam Lanza in the U.S. was institutionalized, schools would remain vulnerable. Because while the Department of Homeland Security turns against its own patriotic, law-abiding citizens, calling us potential domestic terrorists, it blatantly ignores the many terrorist cells in this country here, now.

There are at least 35 Jamaat-ul Fuqra terrorist training camps in operation within the United States today. These are privately-owned compounds, complete with gun ranges and underground bunkers. They have been implicated in multiple murders, bombings and other crime. There are Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist cells operating throughout the U.S. Many of their members entered illegally through our porous southern border.

Even more New Americans!

Schools are natural targets precisely because school shootings have become such a focal point of national angst. They threaten our nearest and dearest. Also, because foolish politicians like this governor will double down on gun ban efforts and if another attack occurs, the terrorists will gain freedom from the one thing they do fear in this country: an armed populace. When we are disarmed, they will have complete reign. This is a likely strategic consideration of terrorists.

This ill-conceived legislation will not stop school shootings. Even Joe Biden says so!

Is there any doubt that the Sandy Hook teachers who sacrificed their lives in a vain attempt to save their children wished they had been armed that fateful day? Is there any doubt that a few armed citizens can provide immediate, on-the-ground security in the event of future such attacks? Is there any doubt that firearms can be an effective deterrent to would-be killers?

There is a reason we have the Second Amendment, and it is needed now more than ever. Loosen Maryland’s onerous restrictions on concealed carry—recently found unconstitutional. Train teachers. Do extensive background checks on them if you want. Stop putting our lives at risk with further bureaucratic restrictions. Trust your law-abiding citizens. Let us defend ourselves and our children. There are no more dedicated servants.



Comments

  • Doctor_Bill

    The proposed laws will not reduce crime or make life “safer” because they are based on the assumption that criminals will obey the law. It is not any more complex than that.

  • pcmff

    O’Malley has presided as governor over the state with the fourth highest murder rate and as mayor of the city with the fourth highest murder rate in the country.

    Why would anyone listen to him about stopping violent crime? His history shows that he’s been completely ineffective at it.

  • anthrogirl

    I’m not going to agrue with you. Guns are designed to harm or kill and assault weapons are to designed to harm and kill in large numbers. Those are your values not mine.

  • anthrogirl

    I live in MD, west side of Baltimore and the majority of Marylanders are good people with sincere interests in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. O’Malley was a great mayor and now an even greater governor. We are grateful for a politican who really thinks about the well-being of all his constituents, not just the ones who want high powered fast shooting guns to satisfy their own personal desires. You or someone in your home is 12x more likely to be killed by your gun than in intruder. 50% of women killed by guns are killed by people they know (usually domestic violence).(CDC). These aren’t gang killings. These are people who legally obtained weapons and then used them to kill their families and friends or to kill themselves. O’Malley addresses these issues as well as the criminal side of the issue.

  • pcmff

    O’Malley was a horrible mayor, and he’s an even worse governor. He’s done nothing but raise taxes, while continuing to make his state one of the most dangerous places to live in the U.S. Baltimore is the fourth most violent city in the country, behind New Orleans, Detroit, and Chicago.

    And most of your other facts are wrong as well. So-called “assault weapons” are not large caliber weapons, nor are they high powered-the .223 round has as much power as a medium to large caliber pistol, and aren’t as powerful as common hunting rounds such as the .30-06 or .308. They don’t fire any faster than other firearms either.

    The stats you state about people killed by guns is from the Kellermann study which was thoroughly debunked years ago. The fact that the Brady people dishonestly cite it even today is just more evidence of the moral and intellectual dishonesty of gun control proponents.

  • anthrogirl

    NYC has implemented strict gun control laws and their gun homocide rates have dropped as a result. So we know regs works, But the NYC police commissioner also said that 95% of the guns seized in crimes in his city come from outside his state. It’s hard for any city or state to contain violence when the other states (especially those down the iron highway (I95)) are forever supplying new crops of guns. Guns are like cockroaches. You clear them from one area and you turn your head for a moment and they’re back, coming in from other places. Baltimore sits on I-95 as well and has the exact same problem. There have been discussions on how to stop guns and drugs from making their way up the corridor. We need to do a bettter job at stopping guns and drugs at our borders.

  • anthrogirl

    Where in MD do you live?

  • pcmff

    The New York crime rate dropped under Giuliani due to aggressive community policing, not because of their gun laws or anything Bloomberg has done. In fact, gun crimes and murders increased with the introduction of Sullivan, and are still higher than most areas with fewer gun control laws. Claiming that gun bans in cities are ineffective because criminals don’t obey laws so therefore we must expand the bans because then suddenly the criminals will obey the laws is just stupid.

    If you prosecute violent criminals and lock them up, you solve the problem. But we spend so much of our time locking up people because they want to burn a dried up plant and inhale the smoke, we don’t have the resources to do that.

    And as for the 95 corridor–why aren’t the crime rates in Georgia and the Carolinas high like they are in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland then? The answer is that criminals go where they know their victims are unarmed. Fewer guns mean more crime and more murder, period.

  • anthrogirl

    Bump firing an ar15 allows you to shoot 3-5 rounds per second and your trigger finger remains stationary… legally. My stats were CDC not Kellerman. If you search for Kellerman in their doc, you wont find his name (and they credit their sources & researchers). Also you must not live in MD. Our schools have ben ranked number 1 for 4 years straight. Our govenor as been awarded best governor by his peers. Our taxes have not gone up. We’re on our way to a debt neutral budget. Where do you get your facts?

  • anthrogirl

    Look at population stats between the states, The northern states are much more populated. NYC makes Atlanta look like Smallsville. You have to look at the numbers proporionate to population size to really compare apple to apple. The NYC police chief cited 2 things enacted since Bloomberg that has really affected crime rates. He didn’t mention Guiliani.

  • The article drips disdain because I have virulent contempt for anyone so ignorant as to not understand the dynamics of gun control, which are so obvious it is painful. We can talk until we are blue in the face and reel of fact after fact, logical argument after logical argument, and the gun ban crowd will simply double down on their message, not because they are right, but because they have so many vested interests in maintaining their myths. Governor O’Malley has introduced one destructive policy after another, and the state’s economy, crime rate and everything else bad reflects it. O’Malley has been busy checking off the list of liberal “musts” in the run up to his 2016 bid for President – all on the backs of Maryland taxpayers. I am revolted by his transparent, self-serving duplicity. His arrogance, ignorance, and contempt for Maryland voters was palpable in the very words he spoke in justifying this lousy plan. Read that paragraph again. He plainly admitted he could care less about gun rights or individual safety, while at once acknowledging he understands that gun rights do offer individuals defense against criminals. Disdain? How about DESPICABLE?

  • Gordie68

    These stats on women being killed by someone they know includes prostitutes who are killed by their “Johns”, drug addicts/dealers killed in the process of dealing drugs, and bartenders/waitresses killed by their customers. Hardly what most would call domestic violence.

    The 12x stat has also been debunked for many years.

    The CDC has also stated that gun control laws have no positive effect on crime. Why would anyone want to pass a law that has already been determined to have failed in its intended effect?

    The definitive work on gun possession, gun control laws and their effects on crime is “More Guns, Less Crime” by John Lott. It has stood up to peer review, unlike many opposing studies. He also shows why many studies are unreliable.

  • Gordie68

    Bump firing an AR-15 or any other gun accomplishes nothing more than wasting ammunition. Anyone familiar with firearms knows that it is nearly impossible to accurately fire in this way.

  • Gordie68

    Chicago has much stricter gun control and had over 500 murders last year. Gun control has failed to slow it down.

  • Gordie68

    Bloomberg has boasted about activities that would land any one of the “common” people in prison. His unauthorized stings involving straw purchasers, many in other states, are felonies. Why hasn’t this felon been arrested and charged?

  • CaptTurbo

    Masterful piece. Fact filled and well written!

  • CaptTurbo

    You wrote a great article Jim. I agree with you on all points. Anthrogirl is a liberal troll. You can’t fix stupid nor can you teach a stupid liberal anything. It’s not that they don’t know anything but more that so much of what they know is incorrect.

  • CaptTurbo

    I think you mean “have the lowest crime rates”, Obama girl.

  • john Goult

    Really? REALLY?

  • anthrogirl

    I just worked a case where a youing man tried to kill his dad by sliting this throat. Luckily he was unsuccessful. He had tried to buy a gun that is restricted in MD and the manufacturer rightfully denied him his order. Gun control saved this dad’s life because killing with a rock or a bat or hammer requires the killer to get up close. Guns remove the intimacy of the death act and it removes the possibility of being attacked in return. Guns are more clinical and involve less effort to kill someone.

  • So you admit by your own words that even without a gun, this young man did harm to his own father. Gun control isn’t about the guns, it’s all about the control. And once again, you’ve proven my point, you cannot legislate behavior.
    People are going to do evil acts regardless of the fact that it’s illegal. How many laws did Adam Lanza break even before he entered the school with guns in hand? How did those laws protect those children and teachers?

  • anthrogirl

    If guns are just meant to shoot projectiles than there should be no love loss when they are restricted because people are using them incorrectly when they shoot at people. Geez. How stupid of our military to work with manufacturer to design things that just shoot projectiles with no purpose. Tax payer money being wasted!! If you kill someone, for whatever purpose, you are a murderer. You can say I’m a justified murder, but you are a murderer just the same. You took a life just like Lanza. He had his reason and you have yours.

  • Jim S

    You really need to lay off the Koolaid anthrogirl. You are not a murderer if you kill someone in self defense. Maybe you should look up the definition of murder. So, in your world, if a criminal is in the process of killing innocent victims and a police officer just happens to arrive before the crime is over and shoots the criminal, the police officer is a murderer. You really live in an imaginary world. I pray you are never the victim of a violent crime, because you are going to die. Handing the criminal flowers and giving him a hug is not going to save your life. And neither are the police. Stats show you will be dead before they arrive. Hate to be so blunt, but it is truth. Also, please don’t call me to use my weapons to help you. I would so hate to be labeled a murderer while saving your sorry behind from a violent criminal with my projectile shooting “assault rifle”. BTW, do you even know what an “assault rifle” is?

  • Jim S

    No anthrogirl, gun control did not save his life. The son was just a lousy criminal. Had he really wanted to kill his dad, he would have accomplished the task whether with a knife, gun hammer or other method. Many more are killed without guns every year than with them. You once again show your ignorance of the subject and of human behavior. You really should quit while you are behind, as every one of your arguements have been refuted by history, stats and common sense.

  • Medic252

    Excellent article. Thank you very much for putting it out.
    Unfortunately, the people who really need to read it will either ignore it or scoff at it.

  • Bob in Florida

    and. . .that is germane to the discussion about firearms how?

  • IMSweetOlBob

    Second the motion, Captain. That noise you hear is my applause.

  • Chuck

    Your (lack of) logic is easily refuted. DC is located directly next door to Fairfax County, VA. The murder rate in DC is about 17 per 100,000. The murder rate in Fairfax is about 1.1 per 100,000. Fairfax has twice the population of DC. Virginia has relatively lenient gun laws and shall-issue concealed carry. DC has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and concealed carry is for all intents and purposes illegal for its citizens and visitors. Care to explain away this discrepancy? The answer is glaringly obvious but as a progressive/liberal you are ideologically forbidden to provide it here. (Hint: I’m not referring to the more guns=less crime argument of the benefits of concealed carry to public safety; although the argument has merit, I do not confuse correlation with causation).

  • Chuck

    Define “assault weapon” and explain how such a thing is “designed to harm and kill in large numbers.”

  • anthrogirl

    Guns dont kill; bullets do the actual damage. Cigarettes, work stress, lack of excercise and bad food like sodas,chips, beer, desserts, pastas & red meats don’t kill; cancer and heart disease does the actual damage. Cancer/heart disease and bullets shouldn’t be blamed. Let’s stop the cancer/heart research and treatments and save us a whole lot of tax payer money. We did the damage to oursleves so we should foot the bill for our own medical costs. Let’s poop on and ignore the “well regulated”:clause of the 2nd amendment by relaxing gun laws. Let’s ignore any morals and compassion for our fellow man and tell those who care about your health, your well being and your kids that they are liberal cry babies who don’t man up by owning big guns and cheap beer. If so many republicans and conservatives can buy guns and ammo, Obama has done a great job because you’re certainly not hurting for money. Time to raise your taxes.

  • These are inaccurate statistics. The vast majority of gun victims are fellow gang bangers and/or innocent civilians.

  • casper

    This should not even be open for discussion,Our right to bear arms shall NOT be infringed !.End of discussion .

  • That is not bump firing. That is a fully automatic weapon.

  • anthrogirl

    Not true. I posted another video for your viewing. There are a ton of videos where people are bump firing like machine guns.

  • chocopot

    Like to rewrite history, do you? Stop reading and listening to the mainstream (communist) media if you want the truth and the facts.

  • chocopot

    It’s the liberal way: punish the many for the sins of the few. Logic and common sense are not liberal traits.

  • What an idiotic thing to say – but I’m not surprised.
    The Neocon religious-right, gullible and undereducated pile of human waste who call themselves “conservatives” are dragging this country down with their dogmatic ignorance.

  • I’m not sure if your little guns will work. The gov’s got got these drones.

    So make sure you tell the NRA that the “right to bear arms” should also include grenades and rocket launchers, like we gave the the Muhajadeen
    to use against the Soviets invaders. Only then can we defeat those evil commies and Muslims in Washington.

  • I see you go to a lot of Charles Bronson movies.

    The reality is more like – you’re out of the house, maybe at the movies or on a weekend in the country. You have guns in the house so you can do the heroic thing and shoot a wicked burglar full of holes (oops, he was unarmed …) but instead he makes off with some jewelry, maybe finds some loose cash, maybe a nice home theater receiver – and all your guns, which are now in the hands of a criminal. Thieves aren’t looking for trouble They go to an unoccupied house to steal stuff they can sell. You want security? Get a watchdog or a good alarm system. Those guns in your house have a much greater chance of causing a great tragedy in your family before they are ever used on an intruder.

    Ignorant clown.

  • CaptTurbo

    Always good to get the “troll’s-eye view” on things.