A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.—U.S. Constitution
This amendment is the most heavily debated amendment in the Constitution. However, to me it is the most clear. When I bring up Concealed Carry Permits, the oppositions first response is always “There are to many people being killed already”, “we need to ban handguns!” Let me let you in on a few secrets.
1. The guns being used to commit crimes are already illegal. They have been stolen or purchased through a “straw purchase.” No need for any further regulation just enforcement of the current statutes.
2. The opposition would like to make handguns illegal. Well, murder is already illegal and that does not stop the criminals from killing, so why would a law against guns make a difference to the criminals?
3. England has a ban on handguns. Their gun ban has resulted in the same number of murders, but the weapon of choice is now a knife. Do you blame your pencil for spelling errors? The saying might sound silly, but is 100% true, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”
The second argument I normally hear is, “There’s no need for a militia, no one is attacking us.” “being necessary to the security of a free state” every day we hear about gang related killings, drug related murders. The normal response I hear to this is “Its just thugs killing thugs.” Tell that to Mr. Derald Guess’ wife and 9 children when he was murdered in his cab in Edgewood as part of a gang initiation. Why do I not have the right to feel safe taking my family to the Inner Harbor after dark? Unfortunately, for some citizens owning a gun is “necessary to the security of a free state” due to the urban terrorism we face every day! I am not condoning vigilante justice, but if confronted I do have a constitutional right to defend my “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Laws only affect law-abiding citizens. Someone who is about to commit a crime does not worry about the current handgun laws before committing the crime. However, handgun bans do prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting their families. Do you think a mugger would think twice before committing his crime if he thought that person might be armed? How many lives would have been saved at Virginia Tech and Columbine if there were armed staff members?
Now are there some restrictions that I would support? Absolutely, if you use a firearm to commit a crime or have been convicted of a “violent’ crime and now are in possession of a firearm, you should receive a mandatory 5 year federal prison term. You should receive the same sentence if you carry a concealed firearm without a permit or the firearm is unlicensed/stolen. If you are an illegal alien and are caught in possession of a firearm you should face immediate deportation. (If you are an illegal alien and are arrested for any reason you should immediately be deported. See my notes on Senate Bill 227).
Here is some data from www.kc3.com
1. Since adopting CCW (1987), Florida’s homicide rate has fallen 21% while the U.S. rate has risen 12%. From start-up 10/1/87 – 2/28/94 (over 6 years) Florida issued 204,108 permits; only 17 (0.008%) were revoked because permittees later committed crimes (not necessarily violent) in which guns were present (not necessarily used).
2. Of incarcerated felons surveyed by the Department of Justice, 34% have been driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens; 40% have decided against committing crimes for fear their would-be victims were armed.
3. “Violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws severely limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense”. (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1992)
I believe Maryland should be a “Shall Issue” state. In Annapolis I will fight endlessly for the citizens of Maryland to ensure this constitutional right! Yes an applicant should have to pass a background investigation, a psychological exam, and a state certified training program to be licensed. This right “shall not be infringed”
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”