Authorities in Charles County, Maryland say an off-duty firefighter was shot and killed by a man walking his dog early Monday morning, but police don’t believe the dog-walker was the initial aggressor. Instead, they say he was coming to the aid of a woman who had been assaulted by the firefighter but managed to escape the townhouse where the domestic assault took place.
Carl Braxton, 30, an eight-year firefighter with the DC Fire Department, was shot around 3 a.m. Monday in Bryan’s Road, Maryland. He was taken to the hospital where he died.
Deputies said Braxton was reported to have assaulted his girlfriend inside their townhouse. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office said the woman was able to get out of the home and came across a man who was walking his dog.
Witnesses told police, Braxton threatened to harm the man and continued to walk aggressively toward him, at which time the man, who has a permit to carry a firearm, produced a gun and shot Braxton, according to police.
If this had happened a year ago, this might have had a very different outcome. Under Maryland’s “may issue” concealed carry laws, the number of legally-armed citizens carrying for self-defense or defense of another were pretty small; about 10,000 people across the entire state. After the Bruen decision came down from the Supreme Court, then-governor Larry Hogan ordered the Maryland State Police to drop the “justifiable need” provision for concealed carry applicants, and the number of active carry licenses has quickly grown to more than 80,000.
It’s unclear how long this armed citizen has had his carry license, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the tens of thousands of Marylanders who are now able to exercise his right to bear arms thanks to the impact of the Bruen decision, though the Democrats in control of the state government are doing what they can to curtail the right to carry. This year lawmakers have approved several measures aimed at legal gun owners, including a bill creating a host of new “gun-free zones” in the state and another that will make it more expensive for residents to apply for a carry license.
This bill, sponsored by Del. Luke Clippinger, D-Baltimore City, and 15 other Democrats, would expand the existing prohibitions of access to firearms, increase the maximum fee for handgun permit applications, expand requirements for a firearms training course, and raise the age from 18 to 21 to lawfully possess a firearm, according to the filed bill.
“This legislation removes the ‘good and substantial reason’ language from Maryland law while also making changes to both our wear-carry permit process and to the process for getting a regulated firearm, that I believe will strengthen public safety,” said Clippinger in a Judiciary Committee hearing for the bill in February.
The bill will raise the initial permit application fee, currently $75, to at most $125. The $50 renewal application fee will rise to $75, and the $10 for a modified or duplicate permit will rise to $20. These fees have not been raised since 1992, according to Clippinger.
While states like Kansas and Indiana have removed government fees connected to concealed carry licenses Maryland is going in the opposite direction, and it’s pretty clear that the intent is to make the process of applying for a license so much of a time-consuming process and financial burden that some folks will throw up their hands in disgust and simply give up. They see concealed carry as a dangerous threat to public safety, and I doubt that even a story like this will change their mind.
If the gun prohibitionists had their way, this armed citizen would have been unarmed when he set out on his late-night walk with his dog, and his encounter with an alleged domestic abuser could easily have had a much different and far worse outcome. Armed citizens save lives; often their own, but on occasion even complete strangers like this woman in Charles County, Maryland.