Maryland citizens had their Second Amendments rights infringed on Thursday when Gov. Martin O’Malley signed more gun control into law. Mr. O’Malley became the third liberal governor this year — after New York and Connecticut — to ram through pointless laws that will do nothing to reduce crime by exploiting the Newtown tragedy. However, Mr. O’Malley’s scheme was secretly watered down a little before it became law.
The governor was fixated on banning “assault weapons,” even though only two people were murdered by rifles of any type in Maryland in 2011. However, O’Malley’s “assault weapons” is less stringent than the ones passed in other states or Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s version which failed in the U.S. Senate.
The Maryland version has the “two characteristic test” that was used in the 1994 ban— which means the rifle has to have two specific cosmetic features to be considered an “assault weapon” — rather than the new one-characteristic test that makes more guns illegal.
Beretta USA, which is one of the largest employers in Southern Maryland tried to kill the entire bill. When that proved impossible, the firearms manufacturer tried to improve the legislation in backroom meeting with chairman of the House Judiciary Committee before the final vote in the House of Delegates.
According to Beretta’s general counsel, Jeffrey Reh, he asked Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., to eliminate the ban on magazines with more than 10 rounds and the fingerprinting requirement for gun owners.
Mr. Vallario, a Democrat, was not able to make those concessions, but he agreed to changes so that fewer guns fell into the category of “assault weapon.” The assemblyman crossed out these characteristics: pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, telescoping stock and forward pistol grip.
Thus, the only banned features are a folding stock, grenade launcher and flash suppressor. Of these, only the folding stock is somewhat common, so few rifles would have both these traits and be banned.
That left just the 45 specific models of rifles banned in the bill, including the AK–47 in all forms, anything manufactured by Bushmaster, AR 100 and 180 types and the Beretta AR70 type semi–auto. Still, Beretta was not pleased. “The law that finally passed went from being atrocious to simply being bad,” Mr. Reh told me Thursday.
The Free State’s law, which goes into effect on Oct. 1, will affect more people by the new requirements for licensing, fingerprinting and two hours of safety training in order to buy a handgun. The law makes possession of “cop-killer” bullets in any violent crime a separate offense, even though there is no evidence of people being killed by this type of ammunition that has been prohibited since 1986.
While the state’s new “high-capacity” magazine ban will apply to citizens, Mr. Reh was also able to get removed the provision that would make it illegal for Beretta to import them so that it could continue to fulfill the military order for the standard M9 sidearm.
Still, the firearms manufacturer is considering moving to a more business-friendly state. “The idea of investing additional funds in Maryland and thus rewarding a government that has insulted our customers and our products is offensive to us,” said Mr. Reh. “So we will take steps to evaluate such investments in other states.”
A total failure of leadership happens when a politician is focused more on his own career than on doing what is right for the people he represents. Like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mr. O’Malley has his eye on higher office. Pandering to the liberal, national party and President Obama was the only reason he made gun control his highest priority of this legislation session.
Mr. O’Malley’s legacy will be an angry citizenry who lost their constitutional rights, firearm manufacturers taking jobs out of state and no change in the crime. He will have to justify this rash move to voters in his try for higher office.