Ehrlich undecided on assault rifles


February 6, 2004, 09:12 PM
And just the otherday he was opposed.

Governor is undecided on assault rifles
Md. ban would outlaw sale of 45 long guns, copycats
By Kimberly A.C. Wilson
Sun Staff
Originally published February 4, 2004
As momentum builds for a statewide assault weapons ban to replace a federal one that is expiring, all eyes are on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who voted against the federal law while in Congress.

Ehrlich said yesterday that he hasn't taken a position on legislation introduced in the Senate by Montgomery County Sen. Robert J. Garagiola and being prepared in the House by Del. Neil F. Quinter, that would expand the state's 1994 ban on assault pistols to include assault rifles and weapons that share their characteristics. The bills have attracted 69 co-sponsors.

The issue places Ehrlich in an unenviable position: Backing the ban would be a reversal of his previous positions on the issue and a source of consternation for his rural and conservative constituents, who were hoping the state would shed its anti-gun reputation.

But if he opposes it - while memories of the sniper shootings and trials are still fresh in Marylanders' minds - the move could expose an Achilles' heel of his carefully tended image as a moderate Republican.

"Politically, it's going to be very difficult for him to walk away from his conservative base on this," said Donald F. Norris, professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

"And if he reverses his position in this state, I am not sure that it does him a lot of good with the gun-control crowd because they tend not to be inclined to vote for conservative Republicans. I can't imagine Montgomery County going for Ehrlich just because of one vote on assault weapons," Norris said.

Yesterday, Ehrlich straddled the fence while voicing doubts that a ban would lower crime in a state whose largest city remains one of the country's most violent. Proven strategies are the only cure, he said.

"We devote our time, money, energy and resources to things that work - not things that sound politically correct," the governor said.

As a state delegate, Ehrlich voted in 1994 to keep Maryland from becoming one of a handful of states with some sort of military weapons ban. As a freshman congressman, he voted with other Republican lawmakers in a failed effort to repeal the federal assault weapons ban in 1996.

The proposed state ban would grandfather in legally registered firearms covered by the new law, while prohibiting new sales or registrations of 45 named guns.

In addition, the state Handgun Roster Board, which tracks newly manufactured pistols and adds those that match characteristics of previously banned assault handguns to the state's list of prohibited weapons, would also monitor copycat assault rifles. And a provision of the bill allows Maryland dealers who have stocks of the banned firearms on Sept. 14 to sell their supply.

Sen. Brian E. Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, backs the legislation -- despite reservations about the dealer provision.

"That's nothing I would want to see in a perfect bill," Frosh said. "Still, when you boil it all down, the ban becomes for me an issue of common sense. I mean, there are plenty of ways you can bring down a deer and defend yourself without these rifles."

The Maryland bills come as states across the country scramble to create new law before the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons, which the Republican-controlled Congress appears unlikely to renew, expires on Sept. 13, 2004.

"I don't think that anybody wants to see these guns back on the street after the ban expires," Garagiola said.

Lawmakers noted specific instances to buttress their point: the 1989 Stockton, Calif., school shootings that left five children dead and 39 wounded; Columbine, Colo., where a pair of students killed 13 and wounded 20; and the 2002 D.C.-area sniper shootings that injured three and killed 10, six of them in Maryland.

Convicted snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo used a Bushmaster AR-15, a civilian version of the M-16, during the shootings.

The weapon, a modified semiautomatic assault rifle, isn't specifically covered by the current federal law but is named among the 45 semiautomatic rifles that could be banned in Maryland.

"All this bill does is to extend it to the big guys, the assault rifles," said Leah Barrett, spokeswoman for CeaseFire Maryland, a gun-control group.

"Of course the gun nuts are saying, 'slippery slope' and all that. But the sniper used this Bushmaster AR-15, and these weapons are designed to instill fear," Barrett said.

But voices on the other side pointed out that the sniper shootings were the result of a gunman's aimed shot rather than a barrage of fire.

"What those people did with that firearm they could have done with any other type of rifle," said John H. Josselyn, legislative vice president Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, which represents 26 clubs and about 4,500 gun owners in Central Maryland.

Sonia Wills, whose son Conrad Johnson became the snipers' final victim, now sits on Ceasefire's board of directors.

"We do need to have these weapons banned, and considering what's happened to my son, I've taken a deep interest in this issue," she said yesterday. "I knew I had to try to make a difference."

Josselyn vowed to do the same, noting a public relations push that gun advocates directed at former House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. in retaliation for his stance on gun locks. "He'd been in for 28 years, and we got him out."

Sun staff writer David Nitkin contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun | Get home delivery

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February 6, 2004, 10:22 PM
Does anybody else think we might be better off if the "snipers" had used a TC Encore muzzle loader? Maybe then, these people would see that the crimes, no matter how horrible they were, could have been perpetrated with any long gun and that if a "hunting rifle" were used, the fatality rate would have been much higher. If they had used a 30-06 M70 with a VX-II and made exactly the same shots, would there have been any survivors? Would people be pushing for the ban on "sniper rifles" or would they finally realize that criminals need to be punnished, not the tools they use. Where are the cries for a ban on full sized domestic cars? After all, they also used one of those:cuss: I'll be writing the governor (again) and the people in the comittee that's debating the law this weekend. I would go to that rally you guys mentioned, but there's really no way I can get out of school. :banghead:

February 6, 2004, 11:34 PM
Well said Nico.

Did these "sniper" idiots ever take more than one shot? I know they never took more than five -- which is the capacity of your average hunting rifle. How in the world does banning ARs and enforcing sales of trigger locks stop anyone from doing what these idiots did?:banghead: :cuss: :fire: :scrutiny:

February 6, 2004, 11:47 PM
Well....Tuesday is showtime. I really wish more of my fellow shooters could attend this hearing with's gonna' be a whopper if this gets passed in its current form.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is just about evil black rifles. It also bans tons of semi auto pistols and shotguns.:fire:

Keep sending the emails and making the calls to your elected officials, especially Mr. Ehrlich:(

February 7, 2004, 12:44 AM
I watched Senators Nancy Jacobs and Grosfeld debate the AWB on ch. 22 tonight. Prior to that John Jocelyn as well as Leah Barret gave snippets. (Of course the anti's got a bigger slice of time). JJ brought up the same point as Nico on the any rifle/ one shot. LB held up one of those evil AR's and stated how evil it was and could only be used to kill people. Actually, once I held one I don't know how you couldn't like it.

The debate consisted of Grosfeld lying, screaming and getting emotional. Jacobs stayed calm, stated facts and good analagies. Of course this strategy doesn't seem to have gotten us far.

The show will be aired again at 10:30 AM Sunday.

We need more people on Tuesday. It should be well above 20, but the anti's are mobilized too. Shame all of your gun-owning acquaintances into being there. We still have a dismal count percentage-wise from THR.

February 7, 2004, 01:17 AM
The thing that sucks is if Jacobs had used Grosfeld's tactics, she would be labeled as a right wing wacko or an extremist, or some other bs label that antis use to discount us. I'll have to set my vcr to record it on sunday.

February 7, 2004, 02:28 AM
Bushmaster AR-15, and these weapons are designed to instill fear

That's probably the only AR-15 accessory I HAVEN'T heard off: a fear inducer!

February 7, 2004, 08:54 AM

There was an article in the Wash Post that said something to the effect that there were an expected 500 pro-gunners coming from Western MD on Tuesday:cool:

February 7, 2004, 08:57 AM
I've been doing some lurking over at, and even met a few guys from there last night. There's a bunch of activity happening from that forum as well.

Interestingly enough, these guys had not even heard of The High expect a few new members.

Also, there's a group of guys from Continental Arms heading to Annapolis, as well as a group of regulars from Bart's Sports in Glen Burnie.

February 7, 2004, 09:12 AM
Good news Norton and Spot. I made a post about it over at the Sig forum. They were talking about ccw in MD. Nice thought, but if this bill passes there won't be much to ccw except that single action revolver.

I had heard that a contingent was coming from Western MD. If it really is 500 that would be great. I know a bunch are coming from Monumental and I've been harassing all my gun-owning friends.

This bill may have finally got us off our a**es.

The Post had an editorial this morning on the ban. Don't let those uzi's and AK-47's back on the street. If it were only those it would be bad enough, but the anti's all ignore the other guns on the list and the REGISTRATION. They also mention that Ehrlich opposes the ban.

Keep fighting!

Harry Tuttle
February 7, 2004, 10:27 AM
i will be away on a business trip

but the Maryland TRT is mobilized for Tuesday
I'm hoping that the crowd shows as well

Keeping decorum in the hearing room guarentees
our not being cleared from the hall
and the MAHAites taking our seats

keeping decorum outside and inside
the Tuesday morning MAHA training session is optional


Harry Tuttle
February 7, 2004, 10:33 AM
> <>
> Wednesday February 4, 2004
> Sportsmen take aim at gun ban
> Washington County sportsmen will join hundreds of others who plan to
> descend on Annapolis next week to try to block major gun-control
> legislation.
> "It's going to get quite crowded down there," said Steve Palmer,
> president of the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.
> Their target is legislation that would extend the rules of a federal
> assault weapons ban that is set to expire Sept. 13.
> Palmer said wording of the proposed law is so vague that it could be
> used to ban guns used for legitimate purposes such as hunting and
> target shooting.

February 7, 2004, 11:06 AM
Does anybody else think we might be better off if the "snipers" had used a TC Encore muzzle loader?

Nope. Even more fuel for the anti's fire. I can hear it now; "All guns, even single shot hunting guns are a threat to society and should be banned!!"

Whenever one of these unfortunate incidents happen and gun owners are angered by the act of an unstable individual you can almost bet the folks over at the Brady Center are doing high-fives and praying for a high body count. Sure it makes their job of spreading propaganda easier if the weapon involved is an "evil assault rifle" but give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

Mark Tyson
February 7, 2004, 11:10 AM
I seriously doubt that the Brady bunch, dishonest as they are, are so cynical that they would celebrate news of a mass murder.

If the DC snipers had used a muzzleloader it might galvanize all the hunters and collectors to our side. As it is they don't care because nobody's trying to ban "their" guns.

Jeff Thomas
February 7, 2004, 11:33 AM
The ignorance reflected in that article is appalling. So common. Indeed, it didn't matter whether the DC sniper(s) had a deer rifle or a .50 BMG.

Mark, to your point ... I agree that anti-self defense wackos don't celebrate bloodshed. However, their hearts clearly jump at the opportunity when a tragedy occurs. To them, it is a political tool. They are "true believers". When Columbine occurred, their propaganda was up on the web site of Handgun Control, Inc. that day. The bodies weren't even cold.

Good luck in MD. Perhaps the state can be made habitable again. Personally, I've given up on ever visiting or living again in the NE.

Regards from TX

February 7, 2004, 11:49 AM
I just hope that Honorable Governoe Erhlich remembers who the people in MD were that put him in office. I'd just as soon fall on my sword as vote again for him if he doesn't show the chutzpah to veto this thing if it even makes it to his desk.

On another note: Did anyone get an answer from Sen Haines' office on where he stands on the bill? When I called on Tuesday, he was the only one of the 7 members on the Judicial Proceedings Committee not coming down on one side or the other of the issue. If we can get him on our side of the bill, we can bottle this thing up in committee and it will never be heard, right?:confused:

February 7, 2004, 11:51 AM
Follow up to previous post for clarification:

RE: Judicial Proceedings Committee.....3 in favor of bill, 3 against...Haines was undecided. He is a pivotal vote on the bill.....

February 7, 2004, 12:28 PM
How in the world does banning ARs and enforcing sales of trigger locks stop anyone from doing what these idiots did?It doesn't and they all know it. It's only designed to pave the way for the next gun ban.

Harry Tuttle
February 7, 2004, 03:20 PM
"All this bill does is to extend it to the big guys, the assault rifles," said Leah Barrett, spokeswoman for CeaseFire Maryland, a gun-control group.

This one is too big
This one is too small
This one has no sporting use

If a .223 AR 15 is a "big guy"
What is a 50bmg M82A1?

February 7, 2004, 06:08 PM
Thanks for the good wishes Jeff. I agree with your assessment of the anti's. I have a cousin about 1 1/2 hours east of Dallas encouraging me to move there. If I could only talk my family into it or hit the lottery........

Norton, I count 11 on the JPC. Haines does appear to be one of the swing voters. He hasn't replied to me, but then again none of the members are my reps and the only two that replied were real pro-gun (Mooney and Jacobs).

February 7, 2004, 06:25 PM
Two more from the Sig forum.

February 7, 2004, 06:45 PM
Two more from the Sig forum.

Yes indeed.:D

February 7, 2004, 07:03 PM
Cliff - I thought I recognized the name.

February 7, 2004, 11:31 PM
Mike K:

Hmmm....the lost that I had only showed 7 names....I wonder who the others are that I missed?

February 7, 2004, 11:44 PM
"I seriously doubt that the Brady bunch, dishonest as they are, are so cynical that they would celebrate news of a mass murder."

Sorry to disagree, but I think they smell blood as keenly as sharks, and go after it just as quickly. Words--certainly words that can be used on THR--cannot describe what I think of these vultures.

February 8, 2004, 05:37 AM
Ehrlich said yesterday that he hasn't taken a position on legislation...
Yesterday, Ehrlich straddled the fence...

Not good. Hmm, Pittsburgh or Philidelphia are looking better all the time.

Guys, I wasn't paying attention to the details about Tues because I was thinking I can't go due to a class (miss one in this course and it's an automatic F). However, it is an evening course. Depending on the time I might be able to go (at least to some of the protest). What time is the gathering? If I can leave by about 5PM I should be able to be there.

Harry Tuttle
February 8, 2004, 07:54 AM
The hearing is at 1PM Tuesday

The activities start at 10 am

If they really start the hearing at 1pm
like last year, they can drag it to 8 pm

This year, however, they don't have 10 other gun bills
on the docket to delay the AWB hearing.

Last year the bill died in the drawer,
but this year its coming out fast.

Erhlich needs to see everyone in Annapolis Tuesday.

If you can show up for 1pm and stay till 5pm, thats cool.
If the pro-gunnies arrive in force,
you may not get to see the inside of the hearing room.

Make sure you are identifiable as pro gun.

I'm sending 150 "Cas Who? badges down.

February 8, 2004, 07:56 AM
Chaim, you are SO there!

We are trying to get there around 10:00 am so we can fill the place up before the Anti's do.

The actual hearing starts at 1:00pm. You don't have to be there for the whole thing.

See you there!

February 8, 2004, 08:50 AM
I called Haines office and left my opposition but I didn't think to press on his position. I can't believe that a Carroll County politician would take an anti-gun view, but then again he is one of those entrenched fixtures that always gets voted in.

I can't make it Tuesday but I'll put in another round of calls on Monday.

February 8, 2004, 10:03 AM
Make sure you are identifiable as pro gun.

I have a red "Maryland Gun Owneres Vote" sticker that I'll be wearing on my Jacket.

Don't forget to dress nicely. We'll look better to the media and the Senator's if we are wearing Jackets and ties.

February 8, 2004, 10:05 AM
Does anyone know of any Maryland anti gun groups that have a web site with info on Tuesday?

I curious what they are saying and planing

February 8, 2004, 11:28 AM
Does anyone know of any Maryland anti gun groups that have a web site with info on Tuesday?

I'm curious what they are saying and planingI doubt there is such a thing as a website where they are allowed to say anything. Discussion can promote truth. You can rest assured that there fair share of support for rallys and all will come from articles in local newspapers.

February 8, 2004, 11:52 AM

Not a Web site, but this thread has an E-mail with plans.

February 8, 2004, 12:48 PM

Not a Web site, but this thread has an E-mail with plans. Here's the website:

Harry Tuttle
February 8, 2004, 01:30 PM
CeaseFire Maryland and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Lobby Day

in support of SB 288, The Assault Weapons Ban of 2004

On September 14, 2004, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban will expire. We need to pass SB 288, which will keep military-style assault rifles off of our streets in Maryland, if Congress fails to renew the federal ban.


Tuesday, February 10th, 2004
9.00 - 1.00 pm


St Anne's Parish Hall
Entrance at 199 Duke of Gloucester Road

Annapolis, M

Briefing - 9.00 - 10.30 am
You will be given talking points on SB 288 and be trained on how to effectively communicate with your legislators.

February 8, 2004, 05:55 PM
"You will be given talking points on SB 288 and be trained on how to effectively communicate with your legislators."

In other words:

"You will be told what to say. No free thinking is allowed. Do as we say"

Mark Tyson
February 8, 2004, 06:22 PM
Well ... every group gives its members advice on points to bring up, what the others side's arguments are likely to be, studies to cite, etc.

February 8, 2004, 06:57 PM
Yeah, but I couldn't pass on the sarcasm:evil:

Harry Tuttle
February 8, 2004, 07:32 PM
the MAHAites will make sure the sheeple are confused on the machine gun definition,
they define assault weapons by citing hollywood movie examples

At the Ceasefire MD fundraiser many of the attendies had no idea that more kids drown than are accidentally killed with guns

February 8, 2004, 11:32 PM
I'm sorry if the info is already out, but there are several related threads all with a ton of posts so I don't want to go fishing for the info. Is there a meeting point for the pro-gun/anti-AWB side? Where exactly do we want to go? I can get to Annapolis and the gov't buildings there, but where from there?

Sergeant Bob
February 9, 2004, 12:26 AM
Gov. Ehrlich ponders the political ramifications of his stance on assault weapons.

February 9, 2004, 04:40 AM
Chaim, (and all others interested in going)... here's a link to AGC's ( directions and how-to-get-there info from another thread.


February 9, 2004, 07:27 AM
Last day to send those emails and make the calls. If you did it once, don't be afraid to do it's the volume of protest that counts.

See some of you tomorrow.....

February 9, 2004, 02:03 PM
I made another round of calls. I got several busy signals or voice mails the first time around so I think a lot of other people are calling in as well. Hopefully, most are with us and not the antis. Anyway, I made a point of adding an editorial comment for each one who is a registered Democrat- I made sure to tell them that I am a lifelong Democrat (true since I haven't changed my registration yet- not until after the primaries) and that I've often been involved with volunteering on elections (true) but that this bill is so important that I will be contributing to the opponent of everyone who votes for this bill (true), even (:rolleyes: ) if it means contributing to and even volunteering for Republicans. Hey, I was honest, it is true that I am still a Democrat until after the primaries, and I don't have to tell anyone that I'm more Republican these days than Democrat. Hopefully, this had at least a little impact. Of course most seemed to ignore my comment but after my "editorial" Sen. Brochin's aide wanted to be sure that I knew that while he was still undecided on this bill he "believes strongly in the inherent right to self defense":D

February 9, 2004, 04:10 PM
Will not be able attend at 1300 hours or earlier. Will try later in the day if I can.

Last Wednesday I got this e-mail from Delegate Don Dwyer, whom I have never heard of before. He is not in my District. Dywer says the Governor wants the Committee swamped with phonecalls. I guess the Governor does not want that Bill to cross his desk. Here is the note.

Dear 2nd Amendment defenders,

The Maryland Assault Weapons Ban 2004 - Senate Bill 288 sponsored by Sen.
Garagiola will be heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on
Tuesday, February 10 at 1:00pm.

Governor Ehrlich has requested that the Senate Judicial Proceedings
Committee be swamped with phone calls. Please call and express your
opposition to Senate Bill 288. Call, have your friends, your brothers,
sisters, and cousins call, and keep calling throughout this week, leave
messages this weekend, and continue calling next week. Call again on Tuesday
morning or just before 1:00pm. Give Particular Attention to Senators James
Brochin and John Giannetti, and to Chairman Brian Frosh.

Constitutionally yours,
Delegate Don Dwyer, Jr.

Judicial Proceedings Committee
Brian E. Frosh ,Chair (410) 841-3124, (301) 858-3124
Leo E. Green ,Vice-Chair (410) 841-3631, (301) 858-3631
James Brochin (410) 841-3648, (301) 858-3648
Jennie M. Forehand (410) 841-3134, (301) 858-3134
Robert J. Garagiola (410) 841-3169, (301) 858-3169
John A. Giannetti, Jr. (410) 841-3141, (301) 858-3141
Larry E. Haines (410) 841-3683, (301) 858-3683
Ralph M. Hughes (410) 841-3656, (301) 858-3656
Nancy Jacobs (410) 841-3158, (301) 858-3158
Philip C. Jimeno (410) 841-3658, (301) 858-3658
Alex X. Mooney (410) 841-3575, (301) 858-3575

February 9, 2004, 04:47 PM
Mr. Dwyer will get my vote next time around is his reply to an email I sent him:


Thanks for the note. I assure you I will fight for your rights that are
guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. I for one, know and respect your

We need you to continue to voice your support of your rights as a law biding
citizen of these United States. We can not allow this nonsense to continue.


Constitutionally yours,
Delegate Don Dwyer, Jr


Sounds like a good man to me!

February 9, 2004, 05:32 PM

NOT spoken like a professional politician....very cool:cool:

February 9, 2004, 06:00 PM
This is a response I got back last Thursday from my e-mail to Senator Nancy Jacobs.

Thank you for taking the time to register your opinion with me. I am
strongly opposed to this bill, as it is a violation of the rights of law
abiding citizens. This bill is being heard before my committee, Judicial
Proceedings, on Tuesday February 10. I will certainly be actively working
to ensure that this bill fails.
BTW, I am on MPT tomorrow night at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 10:30 AM debating
this very bill with my good, liberal friend Senator Grosfeld. Be sure to
let me know how I do if you tune in!
Thanks for your support,

Mark Tyson
February 9, 2004, 06:42 PM

That from a politician in Maryland? Lordy - maybe there is hope.

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