Maryland already has some of the more restrictive gun laws in the nation, with the gun control group Giffords giving the state an “A-” rating thanks to its ban on so-called assault weapons, waiting periods, handgun licensing laws (which were recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge), and a plethora of “sensitive places”, among other restrictions. But anti-gunners are pretty creative in coming up with new bills for their legislative allies to adopt, and one of the measures under consideration in Annapolis this session is aimed at making it easier to sue gunmakers and sellers for the actions of violent criminals.
That proposal has already been adopted by states like New Jersey, Hawaii, and New York, and similar bills have been introduced this year in New Mexico and New Hampshire along with Maryland, where anti-gun activists lobbied lawmakers this week to support the bill. While the legislation has garnered the support of many Democratic lawmakers as well as Gov. Wes Moore, one former law enforcement officer is publicly criticizing the measure.
Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Ed Norris panned the “Gun Industry Accountability Act” in an appearance on FOX 45 in Baltimore, telling news anchors that he just doesn’t understand the anti-gun mentality in the state.
“Far more people die from other things that are manufactured like drugs. Are we going after drug companies for the tremendous number of overdoses we have in our state,” Norris said. “The majority of people who own guns are law-abiding people. They’re in the hands of law enforcement, they’re in the hands of hunters, they’re in the hands of people looking to defend their homes. A tiny portion is in the hands of criminals and you’re going to hold the gun industry accountable for the bad behavior of these people?”
Who else are they going to blame? The actual perpetrators of violent crime? I mean, that makes sense, but it’s certainly not the approach that Maryland Democrats are taking. Attorney General Anthony Brown has admitted as much, explicitly stating that arresting offenders and putting them behind bars won’t solve the state’s endemic problem with violent crime.
“If you commit crime or violence, you will be held accountable, no matter the color of your skin. But we are not going to investigate and prosecute our way to safer neighborhoods,” Brown said. “We are certainly not going to prosecute our way to safer neighborhoods in an unjust system.”
No, but he apparently thinks he can sue his way to safer neighborhoods. Brown has already come out in favor of the bill that would his office as well as individual citizens to sue gun manufacturers and firearm retailers if they don’t implement unnamed “reasonable controls” on the sale, manufacture, importation, distribution, marketing, possession, and use of “certain firearm–related products.” In other words, even if they comply with all state and federal laws, Brown and his prohibitionist pals still want to sue these companies into oblivion for the criminal misuse of firearms, while doing everything he can to keep violent offenders out of prison.
If Maryland lawmakers want to hold third parties accountable for the actions of criminals, they should take a look in the mirror and pass a bill allowing citizens to sue legislators and public officials for the public safety failures that led to eight straight years of more than 300 murders in Baltimore; a streak that was broken, incidentally, the year after the state went from a “may issue” concealed carry regime to a “shall issue” system. More than 80,000 Maryland residents applied for and received a carry license in the first six months after the Bruen decision was handed down, and crime didn’t explode. Instead, the state’s biggest city saw a 21 percent drop in homicides.
That alone should be enough evidence to convince open-minded lawmakers that the firearms industry and lawful gun owners aren’t the cause of the state’s still-elevated levels of violent crime, but this bill isn’t really about public safety or accountability. It’s about destroying the firearms industry and with it, the ability of average Marylanders to defend themselves from the violent criminals that Brown refuses to put behind bars.