This week, my County Council colleagues voted for symbolic gun legislation designed and drafted by the County Executive’s team. Marketed as “crucial public safety legislation”, the Bill appeals to the anger, frustration, and grief we feel when gun violence hits our community. However, the Bill is deeply flawed and gives the County Executive and the Police Chief unchecked authority over the retail gun industry now, and in the future, by allowing these offices to regulate the firearm industry by adding more bureaucracy and unnecessary security costs, all resulting in higher costs for our locally owned gun shops to stay in business and in this county. The Bill also assumes that gun shops are the problem; the facts do not support this assumption. Gun shops are not the problem. Criminals are the problem.
The administration cleverly worded the bill with the acronym “SAFE” Act, but it’s really an opening volley for the liberal agenda to grab guns from law abiding citizens. These are lines directly from the legislation:
“The Chief of Police may institute any action at law or equity, including injunction…to enforce the provisions of this title,” and “The Chief of Police may adopt regulations to carry out the purposes of this title.” So as the gun grab agenda advances through the years, there is no check or balance on the authority to regulate an entire industry. Again, an industry that is not the problem.
According to data provided by Baltimore County Police, 12 of 18 gun shops located in the County have never had a burglary incident. In 2018 and 2019, there were 13 burglary incidents. Criminals were only able to gain access inside the shops on 3 of those attempts. In one of those 3, the suspect was caught while fleeing the scene.
While the data does not add up to a need for legislation, I question the constitutionality of the bill, since firearms are regulated by federal and state governments. This bill happened due to a loophole which specifies regulating a gun shop within a certain distance from public gathering places. One gun shop not near any public gathering places is included in the bill because it was determined the gun shop itself is a public gathering places! When public officials try to advance an agenda, logic tends to go out the window.
This bill does very little to physically address gun thefts. According to data from our police department, 3 times as many firearms are stolen from residences. Maybe that is their next step, over-reaching just like our neighbors in Virginia. We all know the real agenda behind these gun grabs is to disarm us all.
This bill is simply ceremonial in nature and designed to accomplish a public image. Meanwhile, the county’s murder rate has doubled and we see more news reports of more crime. At a time when the city’s crime is clearly spilling over into the county, the County Executive takes the first step in advancing what some people hope to be the beginning of a movement to disarm county residents and force the gun industry to move elsewhere.
With the facts clearly presented by our own police department, along with meeting all of our district’s gun shop owners, it was easy for me to vote against this blatant gun-grab, and I was the only Council member to vote against it. I believe this is simply the first shot in the continued progressive agenda which erodes our liberties, freedoms and security. I firmly believe that law abiding citizens should be able to purchase firearms and ammunition in the County in which they live and I will not participate in legislation that threatens their right to do so.