Maryland Democrat "frustrated as hell" over growing number of concealed carry holders

Maryland Democrat "frustrated as hell" over growing number of concealed carry holders
Seth Perlman

I’ve got news for Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman: prepare to be frustrated for a long, long time, because the right to bear arms isn’t going away… unlike many of Maryland’s gun control statutes.

Pittman expressed his frustration and exasperation with the Supreme Court and those Marylanders who dare to exercise their Second Amendment rights this week while announcing the rollout of the county’s new “gun violence prevention plan”, which comes partly as a response to a recent shooting in Annapolis where three people were killed at a graduation party. None of the state’s draconian gun laws, including its ban on “assault weapons” and permitting schemes to simply purchase and possess a pistol in the home, prevented that attack, but Pittman made it clear that, in his opinion, the state’s laws aren’t nearly tough enough.

“When somebody is frustrated with their neighbor because they parked 17 inches past the corner of their driveway, if there’s a gun in that house, there’s a bad outcome,” County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) said at a press conference. “We need to reduce the numbers of guns.”

Pittman said the county used its red flag laws in 2021 to take guns from 116 owners who may be a risk to themselves or others.

The county executive mentioned that gun dealers are now required to distribute mental health and conflict resolution literature with all sales. That policy was challenged but upheld in court.

The leaders also cheered Maryland’s recently signed Gun Safety Act of 2023. Maryland Matters reported that the law prohibits guns in some public locations like preschools, stadiums, government buildings and polling places.

Maryland Matters said the legislation was a response to a Supreme Court ruling last June that overturned a New York law requiring gun owners to show a need to carry their firearms in public. Maryland’s concealed carry law was similar to the one overturned in New York, so Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed this bill to limit where public gun carrying is allowed.

Pittman said he remains dedicated to passing gun safety legislation, but he gets discouraged when court intervention stymies those policies.

“It’s frustrating as hell that in Maryland when we have strong gun laws, the Supreme Court comes in and says ‘Oh no, you’re concealed carry laws are not constitutional.'” Pittman said. “Immediately after that, the number of folks in our state with concealed carry permits skyrockets because the standards are lower.”

There’s a lot to unpack with Pittman’s comments, but lets start with his smear on lawful gun owners. According to the county executive, every gun owner who becomes frustrated with a neighbor is gonna pull out their gun and start shooting. If that were the case, there’d be somewhere between 80 and 100-million homicides each year, not the 20,000 or so that are reported; many of which, of course, are committed by individuals who aren’t legally possessing a firearm when they commit their crime.

As for his frustration with the Supreme Court, can Pittman point to any other constitutional right that requires citizens to prove to the state where they live that they have a “justifiable need” before they can exercise it? Of course not, because the “may issue” carry laws that were struck down the Supreme Court, including Maryland’s, are a constitutional abomination that turns civil rights into privileges to be doled out by the state.

Despite Pittman’s protests that the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen has made the state a more dangerous place, statistics actually tell a different story. Homicides in Baltimore this year are well below what we’ve seen over the past eight years. Since 2015 not a year has gone by where Baltimore didn’t record at least 300 homicides, but through June 22nd there have been 129 homicides in Charm City; still far too high but a dramatic improvement over years past. 2023 is shaping up to be the first year in nearly a decade where Baltimore records fewer than 300 homicides. That should be virtually impossible if more guns automatically equated to more crime, but the reality is that while the number of active concealed carry permits has grown from around 12,000 to more than 80,000 across the state, violent crime is dropping.

Again, Maryland has plenty of issues with crime, but officials like Pittman would be far better off trying to fix the state’s troubled juvenile justice system, which is routinely returning teens accused of serious crimes back to the street with little or no consequences. WJLA-TV recently reported on one such teen who’s been arrested on gun charges no less than five times over the past year, including a recent carjacking at an elementary school in Prince George’s County.

Now, multiple sources said that Mari has been caught repeatedly with guns and faced little to no consequence. His string of gun arrests began on January 10 along Addison Road when he was caught with a gun after a foot pursuit. He was treated as a juvenile for that incident. On July 13, 2022, he was caught with a gun during a traffic stop. On October 20, 2022, a Maryland State trooper spotted him driving on a flat tire on Rt 4. The trooper found a ghost gun on Mari. On May 11 of this year, he was once again declared a juvenile in one of those cases and released without consequence. Two hours later it’s alleged that he had an assault rifle and was participating in a deadly carjacking.

Two hours after he was in court to get his wrist slapped yet again the 17-year old allegedly had a banned rifle in his hands and used it to steal a car at gunpoint.

The issue here isn’t “too many guns,” which is a fight that Pittman and other anti-gunners are never going to win regardless. There are some 400-million firearms in private hands in this country, and about 1-million gun sales each and every month. Rather than trying to choke off the supply of firearms (and infringe on a fundamental civil right in the process), how about reducing the demand for guns among those who obtain them illegally and use them to perpetrate armed robberies, carjackings, and homicides? The best way to do that is to not let individuals like Mari escape the consequences of their actions. The goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, but the left is unwilling or unable to acknowledge that throwing an ankle monitor on someone and asking them to report to their probation officer for a pee test every few weeks is doing jack squat to actually rehabilitate youthful offenders. Juvenile detention won’t be the appropriate outcome in every case, but it’s hard to argue that keeping a kid like Mari out of custody is teaching him the right lessons or protecting the community at large.

Democrats like Pittman and Gov. Wes Moore aren’t just blaming lawful gun owners for the actions of criminals. They’re standing in the way of proven strategies to reduce violent crime without infringing on anyone’s rights. The state is still seeing some progress on violent crime despite the soft-on-crime efforts of anti-gun politicians, but as long as responsible gun owners are the primary target of lawmakers in Annapolis law breakers across the state are going to believe (rightfully in many cases) that they can get away with murder… along with home invasions, carjackings, armed robberies, and random assaults.