[NOTE: Post edited to remove alcohol fatigue-induced inattention to detail and inaccurate factual assumptions.] “It’s unfortunate that hundreds of guns purchased in the weeks before Maryland’s stricter firearms regulations went into effect last year ended up in the hands of people who should never have been allowed to own them,” baltimoresun.com opines. Wait. What? Is the Sun saying that the Free State’s statists should have prevented a significant percentage of Marylanders from exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in the run-up to Maryland’s post-Newtown civilian disarmament regulations? Yup. Whyzzat? Start with this . . .
A Sun investigative report Sunday by Timothy B. Wheeler and Erin Cox highlighted the consumer fears that spurred record firearms sales last year and the flood of background check requests that created a huge bottleneck in the processing of permit applications. The backlog of cases peaked at 60,000 in October, which would have required some buyers to wait months for their checks to be completed. With police stymied by the sheer volume of applications, some dealers began distributing firearms to customers after waiting only seven days, the minimum required under state law. Eventually, more than 50,000 guns were released to customers before background checks on them were completed, including to some people who were legally barred from owning them.
So how many of these buyers missed the federal filtration system (as administered by the po-po? “Dealers and individual sellers released at least 220 guns to 213 people who ultimately failed background checks,” perfectly trustworthy state police spokesman Gregory Shipley told the Sun’s crack [smoking] investigative unit. And how many of them went on to do bad, bad things? One!
One gun was sold to a man later accused of using it in a carjacking in Prince George’s County, police acknowledged in response to queries from The Baltimore Sun . . .
The victim in the carjacking Oct. 9 in Lanham was unhurt, a Prince George’s County police spokeswoman said. The next day, police arrested Davion Lavonta Ballinger of Upper Marlboro, who they said was 21, and charged him in the incident. Police recovered a pistol that state police spokesman Gregory Shipley said had been released by the seller before the agency could carry out a background check that would have revealed that the recipient was legally disqualified from owning a gun.
Apparently, the courts convicted Mr. Ballinger of an armed robbery back in 2009. The Sun extrapolates the anecdote to conclude that the “hysteria” (their word) that created the bottleneck was a danger to public safety caused by . . . wait for it . . . the gun lobby!
Now the gun lobby wants to blame state officials for the mess its dire predictions of curtailed Second Amendment rights created — and to use it as an excuse to further water down Maryland’s gun laws. But the state acted responsibly in this case. During the worst of the run on gun shops, the state police department moved quickly, assigning extra officers to whittle down the backlog of background checks and even enlisting personnel from other state agencies to help with the paperwork. It has also subsequently employed new technology to streamline the process.
And now, the money shot:
By contrast, some gun store owners acted irresponsibly when they released firearms without waiting for the checks. The fact that they were legally entitled to doesn’t make what they did right. And the suggestion that their customers should be presumed to have a right to gun ownership unless proven otherwise is absurd. By the same logic people wouldn’t have to earn a drivers license unless it was proven they were incompetent behind the wheel.
I know: you’re getting fed-up with the right to keep and bear arms being compared to the privilege to drive an automobile on public roads. But what other arrow of outrageous logic do they have in their self-righteous rhetorical quiver, after waving the carjacked bloody shirt? Why the reasonable, common sense card!
Given Congress’ inability to enact rational gun policy, Maryland is right to go its own way. In doing so, the state has sought a balance between public safety and the rights of gun owners. It’s a shame that not all gun dealers have acted with similar concern.
It’s an even greater shame that Americans have to live in a state where their gun rights are treated with such obvious, unjustifiable contempt. You might even say it’s absurd.