The usual suspects (Frosh, Miller, Busch) in Annapolis are all at it again. This time, they’re trying to enact more gun control measures, on top of the current draconian (and unconstitutional) laws here in Maryland.
Here’s a run down of their proposal:
- Ban firearms from public universities
- Mandate that gun owners surrender their firearms if a judge grants a domestic violence protective order against them.
- People on the FBI’s terrorism watch list cannot purchase a firearm.
But, what’s wrong with that? “Common sense” gun regulations keep us all safe.
No, that’s not the problem here. The problem is that all of these proposals are duplicate laws or they are unconstitutional. Here’s why:
- Firearms are already illegal to possess on “public school property,” according to Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-102 (2015). The only exceptions are on-duty law enforcement officers, off-duty and retired officers visiting their kids, hired security, and educational activities. So this proposal would merely make it double-illegal. On top of all of that, very few concealed carry permits are issued in Maryland and open carry is prohibited. That means that if a student brings a firearm onto a campus, they are already breaking two separate laws. Who knows, maybe a third law will make them change their mind?
- Before I start talking about protective orders, let me first say that this issue evokes emotion and not legality. Of course, on an emotional level, nobody wants an wife-beater to have a firearm. At the same time, even accused criminals have constitutional rights. Currently, on form CC-DC-DV-001 (Rev 10/2015) in Maryland, there is an option to order a defendant to surrender their firearms. Now, this is optional and up to the discretion of the judge to check or not check this box. Mandating that this box be checked each time would be akin to mandatory minimum sentencing, something that Democrats and Libertarians are both opposed to. Consider the “what ifs.” What if the defendant is in the National Guard and deployed overseas? Are the Maryland State Police going to fly to Kuwait to take away his/her M16? A judge, who is there in the chamber, should be allowed to make this determination. Not some statutory requirement mandated by Annapolis. If you do not trust the judges to make this determination, find new judges.
- I previously wrote about arbitrary lists that the Federal Government creates, denying citizens their due process. Whether it’s the FBI’s terrorist watch list or the TSA no-fly list, both should be considered an unconstitutional litmus test for civil rights. On top of that, according to the Baltimore Sun, Governor Hogan said “No one on any watch list has ever received a gun.” So again, another measure that is a waste of time.
Perhaps instead of pandering and trying to solve non-existent issues, Maryland Democrats should focus on tax reform, reforming punitive government regulations, restoring fair voter representation, and criminal justice reform?