RE: Senate Bill 144, Senate Bill 210, Senate Bill 267, Senate Bill 268, House Bill 214, House Bill 296 and House Bill 302
Dear Senator Forehand,
I am very concerned about a number of "gun control" bills that may be considered by the legislature this year. It appears that in reading the proposed laws that due process to relieve a person of their property is ignored in order to protect the victims of domestic violence. While the goal of protecting victims of domestic violence is certainly laudable, the implementation is flawed in a number of ways.
First, gun owners, comprise less than 1 percent of the total orders of protection issued in the state of Maryland. So while the 75 cases out of 6700 that do involve guns would make a negligible difference, further more many of these individuals are likely to be members of the law enforcement or military communities. That leaves the choice of relieving first responders of the tools to do their job, or to let them retain access to weapons, and thus having a null effect.
Second, the proposed legislation would cause the rights of those accused to be trampled without due process. This could have unintended consequences. For instance, if a woman purchases a weapon for self-defense and her ex-spouse wished to disarm her, he would simply need to file for a temporary restraining order to have her effectively disarmed and placed at a physical disadvantage against her former spouse. Certainly, the goal of the law is not to prevent citizens from enjoying the right to defend themselves, especially without providing the opportunity to respond to the protective order.
Finally, and most importantly, these laws do not prevent targeted violence against individuals. Attacks related to domestic violence will not be prevented by this, those so motivated to attack victims of domestic violence will not respect laws regarding gun ownership or regarding the assault and bodily harm of another through other means. A far better means of addressing this problem is to adopt open carry and concealed carry legislation that affords all citizens the means to defend themselves. Police simply cannot protect everyone and it's often too late to get a concealed carry permit if one must wait for an actual attack before being eligible for a concealed carry permit.
It is clear that none of the prohibitions or laws drafted to prevent the ownership of so called "assault" weapons and handguns has resulted in reduced crime in the state of Maryland. Despite a ban on the sale and transfer of large capacity magazines, the proliferation of these devices within Maryland continues and has had no net effect on crime in the state. I urge you to introduce legislation to repeal these unconstitutional restrictions on gun ownership, and to ask yourself, what did our founding fathers mean when they said, "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed." Like all of our civil rights, the second amendment is an important one. The proposed legislation is fundamentally wrong, I don't expect to change your opinion, however I hope that you will find room to respect my opinion, my freedom, and my civil rights.