Gun Control Activist Admits "Gun-Free Zones" Could Lead to More Gun Thefts

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

While violent crime slightly declined in Maryland last year, according to the latest FBI crime statistics, juvenile offenses are on the upswing, and one Baltimore-based gun control activist is eager to pin the blame on lawful adult gun owners.

Daniel Webster is the Director of the Center for  Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, and is one of those academics who can always be relied upon to toe the gun control lobby’s party line. Rather than admit that none of Maryland’s restrictive gun control laws are stopping juveniles from illegally obtaining and using guns, Webster once again is pointing the finger at legal gun owners.

Webster said the reason for increasing violence can be traced back to a Supreme Court decision in 2022 that struck down New York’s concealed-carry law, allowing more people to carry guns in public or keep them in their cars.

“That made it so that the state police had to issue far more permits to carry loaded, concealed firearms in public places and also in one’s motor vehicles,” Webster said.

He said that the Supreme Court decision had a domino effect, and the end result is that when teenagers break into cars now, they’re finding more guns than ever.

“In recent years, when they break into cars and trucks, they are finding more guns,” Webster said.

In “recent years”? The Supreme Court decision in Bruen was handed down in June of 2022, so it hasn’t even been two years since Maryland’s “may issue” laws disappeared and were replaced with a “shall-issue” system. While the number of concealed carry holders has increased by at least 80,000 people since the decision came down, Webster couldn’t point to any actual statistics showing that more guns are being stolen from concealed carry holders.

Maryland’s reluctant move to “shall-issue” status hasn’t led to an increase in violent crime among adults. In fact, this will likely be the first year since 2015 that Baltimore winds up with fewer than 300 homicides. If more guns led to more crime, Baltimore’s homicide rate should be soaring instead of plummeting, but Webster ignores that inconvenient truth in order to blame legal gun owners for the actions of criminals who are too young to legally possess a gun in in the first place.

In theory, though, Webster might have a point… just not the one he’s trying to make. If concealed carry holders have their guns on their person, they’re not likely to be stolen. But given all of Maryland’s “gun-free zones”, a lot of concealed carry holders are going to have to leave their guns behind in their vehicle when entering a “sensitive place”. The more the state prohibits concealed carry licensees from carrying, the more likely it is that they’ll be storing their guns temporarily in their cars, trucks, and SUVs where thieves could get ahold of them.

When asked whether there could be an unintentional side effect from the law, Webster said: “Based upon the research to date, it is a concern that I have that there may be unintended consequences to making more guns available through theft.” Webster is quick to point out that there’s not yet enough data to know for sure.

Not enough data to be sure about that, but Webster seems to have no issue blithely assuming that the Bruen decision is responsible for a rise in juvenile crime. Go figure.

I’ve got another theory about why we’re seeing a rise in juvenile crime; not only in Maryland but across the country. One law enforcement officer in Washington State put it pretty well when talking with KOMO-TV in Seattle about a recent crime spree involving a 14-year-old kid.

“There’s no accountability,” Sgt. Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said. “There’s nothing telling them that ‘hey if you do this, you’re going to get into really big trouble,’ because most of the time, they don’t. They get released back home. They have probation, or they have home arrest which allows them to go to school. They really don’t have any restriction and they continue to go back out and do more stuff.”

Instead of scapegoating lawful gun owners for the actions of criminals, Webster should be demanding accountability for youthful offenders, but that’s not gonna happen. The gun control lobby is dependent on these logic-defying arguments to persuade the public to go along with their anti-civil rights agenda, and Maryland is one of those states where a majority of votes have accepted their fallacies as fact.