Cumberland Times-News

Columns

August 24, 2013

We are well-armed in Md.

Those Marylanders who hate guns can thank Gov. Martin O’Malley and his minions at the General Assembly for making the state’s citizenry among the most well-armed in the country.

Once the governor announced that he intended to push for legislation that would outlaw certain firearms and make it more difficult to purchase others, residents of Maryland got out their credit cards, cash and checks. Some of those folks already knew the locations of gun dealers. But a whole bunch of others did not. By droves, they would become first-time gun buyers.

People who had never touched a trigger or handled a cartridge would become owners of 9mm pistols and .44 revolvers. They would punch the coordinates of local gun ranges into their GPS units.

Then, when the General Assembly passed, and the governor signed Senate Bill 281, the purchasing became even more intense. Citizens knew that if they didn’t buy a semi-automatic .223 rifle with a pistol grip by Oct. 1 they would not be allowed to buy one at all. They came to understand that the purchase of a handgun — something as common as a run-of-the-mill, five-shot, .357 revolver — would become more cumbersome and expensive, requiring a state fee just to be able to make the transaction.

The bottom line is that some of the more restrictive gun laws in the country have made Maryland one of the more ballistically fortified states in the union.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and all that.

And what about the people who already own firearms and use them to hunt, shoot targets and protect their homes? They bought more, some increasing their arsenals substantially and stacking boxes of shells rows deep in their gun safes.

Some bought firearms to stash away and give to their children and unborn grandchildren. Other bought them as investments, anticipating a rise in value with the passage of time and the constrictions of law.

Local gun dealers tell me that the upcoming restrictions actually resulted in increased sales of firearms that won’t be affected. In other words, this guy goes into the gun shop checking on handguns and military-style, semi-automatic .223 rifles (I refuse to call them assault rifles) and sees a pump shotgun he likes or maybe a .22 rifle and gets out the plastic.

So ... how many firearms that require a background check by state police are Marylanders buying?

This is out of a recent story by the Associated Press.

“So far this year, we have received a total of 71,894 purchase applications, which exceeds last year’s total of 70,099 and certainly 2010’s total of 38,712,” said (a Maryland State Police spokesman).  

“Our weekly average of applications received is 2,363.”

Now that’s what I call boom, boom, boom!

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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