- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As a husband and the father of a 19-month-old daughter, I strongly oppose the Maryland Senate’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013. It represents no viable solutions to violent crime, and like other anti-gun proposals, has been proven as a resounding failure across the country. Criminals simply do not obey gun bans, register their firearms or comply with any gun control schemes. As a result, only law-abiding citizens will be left defenseless.

“Assault weapon” is a misnomer. These are not “military weapons designed for human carnage.” In fact, there are vast, legal and mechanical differences between a semi-automatic firearm and a fully automatic “military” firearm. Fully automatic firearms are defined as “machine guns” and are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and long-standing state laws.

Semi-automatics and all other firearms, such as bolt actions, pump actions, lever actions, revolvers, double-barreled shotguns and single-shot firearms fire only once when the trigger is pulled. They’re not “unpredictable weapons designed for mass carnage,” as many in the news media would have you believe, but are tools commonly used by the law-abiding for self-defense, hunting and target shooting.

The Maryland bill would require a state permit to purchase, rent or otherwise be in possession of a handgun. This permit would be obtained from the Maryland State Police after prospective gun purchasers complete a mandatory eight-hour gun safety class, submit their fingerprints to a state-run database and undergo an extensive state-funded background check — in addition to the federal background check. Additionally, every new Maryland gun owner would have to reapply every five years for a license to keep a legally possessed firearm. All of these new requirements have fees that only penalize law-abiding gun owners. These laws serve no crime-fighting purpose because criminals don’t register themselves or their guns, and most get guns from theft or the black market.

SCOTT ATHEN

Owings Mills, Md.