MD Gun Laws firing blanks


January 19, 2003, 04:30 PM
From of all places, The Washington Post!
Maryland Firing Blanks

Sunday, January 19, 2003; Page B08

Gun-control advocates weren't happy to see Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. win the Maryland governorship. But are gun-control laws really effective at reducing violent crime?

Compare Maryland's record with Virginia's. Other than a one-handgun-per-month purchase law, the two states have little in common on gun control. Gun-control measures in Maryland include:

• A ban on the cheap handguns known as Saturday night specials (1988).

• A waiting period for the purchase of assault weapons (1989).

• Background checks and waiting periods for purchases at gun shows (1993).

• A ban on certain "assault" pistols (1994).

• A ban on "straw purchases," in which a buyer acquires a gun to give to someone else (1996).

• A requirement that gunmakers provide a spent shell casing from each handgun sold in the state to provide law enforcement with ballistic "fingerprints" (2000).

• A requirement that all newly manufactured handguns sold in the state have a built-in trigger lock (2003).

So are Marylanders a lot safer than Virginians? Quite the opposite.

FBI data show that in 2000 (the most recent year for which figures are available), on a per capita basis Maryland ranked third in murders and first in robberies among the states, while Virginia ranked 15th in murders and 27th in robberies. Maryland had a firearm-related murder rate of 5.9 per 100,000 residents, while Virginia's rate was almost 70 percent lower, at 1.8 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Maryland also doesn't stack up well nationally. Its firearm murder rate in 2000 was nearly double (190 percent) the national rate, while Virginia's rate was 42 percent below the national rate.

What has Virginia done that has made its residents safer than Marylanders -- other than not passing "progressive" gun laws? In 1995 it enacted a law that allows law-abiding residents to carry concealed firearms. After an initial increase in the rate of firearm-related homicides, by 2000 Virginia's firearm-related homicide rate declined by 22 percent.

It's a pattern borne out nationwide, according to John Lott of the American Enterprise Institute. His research shows that states that have adopted concealed-handgun laws have experienced sharp declines in every type of violent crime: murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, robberies.

No one is claiming that the difference between the crime rates in Maryland and Virginia can be attributed solely to their differing gun laws, but clearly these laws -- or the lack thereof -- have played a role and probably a significant one.

The primary flaw in Maryland's approach is that those determined to harm innocent people are the ones least likely to obey gun-control laws. Instead, these measures disarm law-abiding residents, making them more likely to become victims. Why make it easier on criminals?

-- David Muhlhausen

is a policy analyst specializing in

criminal justice in the Center for Data

Analysis at the Heritage Foundation.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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January 19, 2003, 04:41 PM
I'm amazed the Washington Post published that. :D

I'm impressed, the media is using logic for once. Now we need these types of articles in every paper every day nation wide.

January 19, 2003, 05:26 PM
I live in Nevada and my girlfriend is from Maryland. Her family thinks Las Vegas is this city of crime. Little do they know that the highest murder rate in the nation is D.C. (1hr from them). Not to mention that there anti-gun state has far more crime than Nevada.

It is nice to see a large publisher put an article out like this one. Hopefully more people will read these issues and start to think a little bit more about what owning a gun really ensures.

January 19, 2003, 05:35 PM
It is quite interesting to see the Washington Post publish such a story. Maybe people are starting to wake up!

January 19, 2003, 05:50 PM
:what: They actually printed that in the Post??!! Once in a while they'll surprise you, probably the regular editor's day off.

January 19, 2003, 06:25 PM
You must remember that this story was posted on the last page of the OUTLOOK section, and is NOT Washington Post Editorial policy or comment. The author works for the Heritage Foundation. So don't get your hopes up that the Post or their ilk are beginning to see the light. It remains to be seen what the new Republican govenor will do vis-a-vie the current draconian gunaws in Md. The question remains, "If the law causes the loss of one life...".

Seneca, MD

Capital Punishment
January 19, 2003, 06:59 PM
That article makes me :D .

I smile wider when i think that 2/3 of Marylands citizens are democrats. :neener:

January 19, 2003, 07:19 PM
FWIW- I know I'm preaching to the chorus, but -

• A ban on "straw purchases," in which a buyer acquires a gun to give to someone else (1996).

-is part of the Federal Gun Control Statutes, and is observed in all states, not just Maryland.
There is also a complete ban on a large number of "assault " weapons, not just pistols. Part of Glen-ding-dongs "Ugly Gun Act"!

Just to keep the record clear...

Seneca, MD

Standing Wolf
January 19, 2003, 09:05 PM
Even the blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.

January 19, 2003, 11:07 PM
This type of guest editorial in the Outlook section isn't new. The Post will print something like this every once in a while to be able to claim a "diverse" article base vs. the blatently liberal offal they usually print.

George Will can be found in their Op-Ed section occaisionally. I thought it was him writing this before I saw the by-line.

Good article: logical, facts are based on reason and readily available data, and he uses small words to be easily understandable to the mouses...uh...masses.

Will probably see lots of "we saved every child in Maryland from dying in gun shootings" calp-trap in response to this. God, I hate predictability.


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