Ever since Parkland, long guns have become the proverbial boogieman for the anti-gun forces. They took what can only be described as a horrible tragedy and made it sound like AR-15s and other long guns, particularly in the hands of certain lawful adults, are a problem that desperately needs to be solved.
Several states have stepped up to try to address this made-up issue. Now, Maryland is working toward that same “goal.”
The Maryland House of Delegates, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, voted 87-47 in favor of House bill 4 — a controversial bill that seeks to require background checks for secondary sales or transfers of rifles and shotguns.
The legislation has been a point of contentious debate since its introduction, with proponents arguing the law will help keep gun owners accountable for their firearms — and opponents saying the law criminalizes people who simply want to share hunting rifles.
Before the vote kicked off on the House floor Tuesday, Del. Jeff Ghrist, R-36-Caroline, who voted against what he called the “way too broad” legislation, said, “This is going to affect people who are borrowing guns from one another.”
The proposed law would make it illegal for a gun owner to sell, rent, gift or loan their rifle or shotgun to someone else without authorization from a licensee who is to perform a background check on a potential new owner and then lawfully facilitate the firearm transfer for a “reasonable fee.”
Now, we’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on why rules like these are absolutely stupid. They don’t stop black-market sales, for example, nor do they stop people from stealing guns. All it does is interfere with the actions of law-abiding individuals.
Perhaps more importantly, though, is that it completely misses the reality of crime that these lawmakers claim they’re trying to address.
You see, despite what you see in the movies, criminals aren’t all standing around with AR-15s slung across their chests in a two-point rig. They’re usually some low-level thug instead. Guess what they tend to use?
Go on, guess.
Did you say “a handgun?” If so, give yourself a cookie. You earned it.
In fact, when addressing the homicide problem in Baltimore–where most of the state’s homicides seem to come from, after all–it’s important to note just how much more common handguns are than rifles. Even knives and clubs are used more often to murder than a long gun.
Of course, post-Parkland, much of the talk surrounding long guns and crime centers on mass shootings. There’s a perception out there that the AR-15 is the preferred firearm of the mass shooter. Some politicians have even claimed as much.
However, 62 percent of all mass shootings are carried out with a handgun, not a rifle of any sort.
So, let me ask, just what is this bill really trying to do? Really, what’s it trying to accomplish?
I’ll tell you what it will do. It’ll make it harder to get people interested in hunting or other shooting sports, depriving the state of the revenue for new hunting licenses, all because Baltimore can’t clean up their own city.