EDITORIAL: Registering guns in Maryland

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Maryland politicians should be focusing on the state’s budget crisis. Instead, some lawmakers are wasting the remaining days of the legislative session to pass more gun-control laws. These efforts to limit freedom should be shot down.

One of the slew of proposed gun laws getting serious attention is the Firearm Safety Act of 2010, which was introduced by state Sen. Brian E. Frosh, Montgomery County Democrat. The bill promises to tighten up Maryland’s supposedly “lax” registration and licensing laws, but its main legacy will be to waste money. By diverting funds from crime policies that work - like more cops on the beat - and discouraging gun ownership, the proposal will increase crime.

Registration programs in Hawaii, the District of Columbia and Chicago can’t point to any crimes that have been solved as a result of gun registration. In Canada, since the 1930s and up to a few years ago, the government could point to only three handgun crimes solved using registration information.

Long-gun registration hasn’t solved a single crime in Canada, and Canadians are pushing to eliminate the program after wasting a couple billion dollars on it. Last autumn, Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said, “Canadians don’t need another report to know that the long-gun registry is very efficient at harassing law-abiding farmers and outdoors enthusiasts, while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars.” Case closed.

If a gun is registered and left at a scene, it could in theory be traced back to the owner to solve the crime, but this is almost never the case. First, crime guns are virtually never left at the scene of the crime. When they are, it’s usually because the criminal is seriously wounded (or killed), and thus likely to be caught anyway. Second, even when guns are left at the scene, they generally are not registered to the criminals responsible, who either stole the weapons or otherwise obtained them illegally.

Freedom works; gun controls don’t. Gun registration carries the added offense of wasting scarce resources in a troubled economy. Marylanders deserve better from their elected representatives.

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