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The Tentacle


July 31, 2012

MD Right to Carry Made Easier: Maybe Not

Steve Gottlieb

Federal Judge Benson E. Legg signed an order on July 23rd directing the State of Maryland to implement his original ruling which struck down the requirement that Marylanders wishing to exercise their Second Amendment rights must show a "good and substantial reason" when applying for a concealed carry permit.

 

In theory this should make it easier for law-abiding citizens to apply for a concealed carry permit and have it approved; it might for short time.

 

However, Maryland is not known for its support of citizens wishing to carry concealed weapons. Remember, self-defense, or personal protection, is not considered a "good and substantial reason." In Maryland you must either show that your life is in danger as evidenced by a police report, or you're in a

profession which requires you to carry a weapon, or have a business and must routinely carry a large amount of cash. There may be other reasons, but these cover the majority of cases where a concealed carry permit might be approved.

 

While this is a victory for Marylanders, it is by no means a final decision. The state and the anti-gun lobby are going to do everything in their power to reverse the decision. According to an article in the July 24 issue of The Baltimore Sun by Tricia Bishop, the Maryland Attorney General's office is going to appeal the ruling and ask the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to intervene.

 

The latest incident in Colorado is certainly something they're going to use as a pretext to continue to violate the constitutional rights of the citizens of Maryland. Actually, there were a number of incidents over the last few years which the anti-gun lobby is using as examples for completely curtailing the rights of citizens of the United States guaranteed under the Constitution.

 

All these cases were horrific and high profile. For instance, there was the shooting in which Congressman Gabby Giffords (D., AZ) was severely injured. Then there was the Trayvon Martin shooting which not only called into question Second Amendment rights, but also the Florida Stand Your Ground law. Let’s also not forget the incidents at Columbine or Virginia Tech.

 

It is amazing how – within hours of an incident such as these – the anti-gun lobby starts calling for the abolition of gun rights in the United States. They always claim we need more laws in order to protect citizens from gun violence.

 

What they don't tell you is there already over 22,000 gun laws on the books in the United States today. What we need to do is enforce the laws we already have and hold people individually responsible for their actions. What you never hear them say is that the person who perpetrated the crime was the guilty party. The anti-gun lobby always wants to blame guns, gun manufacturers, the National Rifle Association and law-abiding citizens.

 

Here's an interesting statistic which came from the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action website: According to the FBI data, the six states with the lowest murder rates in 2009 were New Hampshire, Iowa, Vermont, Minnesota, Utah and Idaho, all of which are Right-o-Carry states, and none of which bans "assault weapons."

 

Minnesota requires a purchase permit or 7-day waiting period to buy an "assault weapon;" but Maryland, which also has a waiting period on "assault weapons," had the third highest murder rate in 2009 and the second highest rate in 2010. Incidentally, as we know Maryland is not a “right to carry” state.

 

It is also interesting to note that in a 1995 study, criminologist Gary Kleck, and co-author Marc Gertz, found that private citizens use guns for self-protection about 2.5 million times annually. In a 1996 study, authors John Lott and David Mustard saw that when state “right to carry” laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by 8.5%, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell by 5% and 7%. All the statistics and links to the articles containing them can be found on the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action website.

 

There is a very strong correlation between the “right to carry” and a decrease in crime, which makes it very clear that law-abiding citizens who have the option to exercise their Second Amendment rights are safer. However, these statistics notwithstanding, it is doubtful the State of Maryland will willingly relax concealed carry restrictions anytime soon.

 

Remember, in Maryland, the superintendent of the State Police is responsible for issuing concealed carry permits. That person is appointed by the governor, who in Maryland is an anti-gun advocate even though he himself is protected by people who carry guns. Since the superintendent is beholden to the governor, it is a pretty safe bet that he will continue to find ways to deny Maryland citizens their constitutional rights.

 

Every citizen should ask themselves why the government is so focused on restricting the right to own and carry firearms while statistically they make us safer. After all, in spite of the number of motor vehicle deaths each year, no one is calling for the abolition of cars. When an airplane crashes hundreds of people can be killed at one time. Yet no one is suggesting we do away with air travel. So, why focus on guns?

 

Maybe there's a more sinister reason than public safety as they claim. After all, if you can't defend yourself, you have to depend on the government to do it for you. The more dependent you are on the government the more it can control your life.

 

Maybe the issue isn't about public safety at all, but more about consolidation of power. Anyway, don't hold your breath waiting for your concealed carry permit in Maryland. If you do happen to get one and the state wins its appeal, it will be revoked.

 



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