Testimony in opposition to SB281:
Firearm Safety Act of 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate:
Let me begin by saying I find this bill to be improperly named, because its passage will not make Marylanders any safer.
As members of the General Assembly, you are charged with making laws. By definition, criminals break them.
Yet I predict this bill will make criminals out of law-abiding citizens.
Otherwise this law will deny the right to self-protection from many thousands of Maryland residents your government claims to be looking out for: the poor and disadvantaged among us. If one were to purchase a handgun after November 1, not only will they be responsible for the price of the gun but also hundreds of dollars’ worth of licensing fees, classes, and other costs associated with this law. They’ll be faced with a choice: self-protection or starvation. Is the state going to step in further and pay for gun safety courses for the poorest among us, waiving the $100 licensing fee on a sliding income scale? Of course not.
Certainly at this point you’re shaking your head at the crazy example I point out above, but I shook my head in disbelief when I saw this bill for what it is: a kneejerk response to a tragedy this law would not have prevented. Again, by definition criminals break laws. The very first victim of the Sandy Hook tragedy owned her weapons – the ones stolen to be a means for committing these murders – legally.
Logic and reliance on facts aren’t generally the strong suits of those who would take away the access to weapons, though, so that truism is lost on those who pushed for this bill in the name of “safety.” As you probably know – and will likely hear often throughout this day of testimony – the Second Amendment clearly states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It does not go on to say “…shall not be infringed, except when they put scary-looking enhancements on the weapon” or “…shall not be infringed, except for the payment of $100 and taking of a training course.” I would further argue that the people aren’t the “well regulated militia” but the “over-regulated militia.”
It’s rather unfortunate that I can’t be there today to deliver this in person, to see the reaction on your faces when I take a page out of the old saw many of us grew up hearing, “Question Authority.” It’s the people’s job to do so when authority oversteps its bounds and turns a right into a privilege for the chosen few.
I understand this bill probably has enough votes to clear the Senate based on the number of co-sponsors; furthermore, I’m sure it’s no coincidence that this hearing was scheduled at a time when President Obama would be nearby.
But I guarantee to you that I speak for thousands and thousands of law-abiding gun owners in Maryland who have never fired their weapon in anger; in fact, I would wager that most have not fired their weapons in the last year. Luckily, society is still civil enough that the need for self-protection is a rare occasion for most of us.
Read more here.