Maryland Gun Control Briefs

Sons of Liberty

        Briefs introduced and linked on this page are one to two printed pages addressing one topic.  The length is a part of disciplined in writing so that we address only the most important points with links to more information if wanted. The briefs stand alone and can be used in testimony or to educate others.

Maryland SITREP

        Academic institutions have lent their names to efforts promoting propaganda.  One recent example is Bellesiles' book Arming America which claimed Revolutionary era Americans were generally not armed.  That claim, hailed by anti-gun academics as justifying their position, was used to assert that the Second Amendment did not protect an individual right of Americans. Mr. Bellesiles used his academic position as a professor of history at Emory University to perpetrate a fraud to the detriment of Emory's reputation and those of academic historians.  Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research is engaged in a similar fraudulent effort (see also).  The Hopkins link is to political and emotional anti-gun screeds passing as scientific research. 

In the following paragraphs we present a series of topical briefs on Maryland violence, Ballistic Fingerprinting and other gun control topics to show the true effects Maryland's failed gun control policies.  By contrast to Johns Hopkins distortions, our briefs show objective data for Maryland and we challenge all to find mistakes.

Briefs

        1.  Maryland has followed a policy of blaming crime on firearms in the hands of its people.  They have instituted policies to discourage firearm ownership and to control firearm owners.  These policies have failed and Maryland's rates of violence are much higher than neighboring states and higher than the US rates as a whole and this poor public safety performance has persisted for more than 40 years.  Our first Brief discusses Maryland's poor public safety performance.

        2.  Ballistic Fingerprinting -- Objective analysis (see linked brief) of computer technology used by Maryland for "ballistic fingerprinting" shows it will be too unreliable for the solving of crimes committed with legally sold guns. Manual ballistic analysis and some computer ballistic analysis can be used for crime analysis in which there are a limited numbers of shell casings or bullets collected for evidence but the technology isn't reliable enough for use where the number of guns is huge (legally sold guns).  Gun control advocates deliberately blur the distinction between these two applications. 

One example of actual misrepresentation of the facts concerning the use of the Maryland State Police database to provide a criminal lead was presented on April 2, 2005 by the Washington Post in its article "Ballistics Database Yields 1st Conviction, Oxon Hill Man Tied To Murder Weapon".  In this article state's attorney Glen Ivey asserted that Maryland's ballistic fingerprinting database was successful in convicting a murderer.  The official transcripts of this murder trial show police testimony and a time line of evidence development which contradicts Ivey's assertion and is reported here.

Maryland's IBIS ballistic fingerprinting system hasn't helped convict a single criminal though more than 50,900 guns sold since January 2000 had been 'fingerprinted' by April 1, 2005.  New York has registered more than 29,000 ballistic fingerprints by 2003, and, once again, not one bad guy has been taken off the street using this scheme.  At one time, Maryland defunded the program for processing shell casing from new gun sales (but has re-instated funding), and the collection of shell casing must continue by law.  As a consequence, many handguns on the roster of approved guns cannot be sold since some manufacturers will not provide the required shell casing and some will not supply it for many models -- for a listing of handguns approved for sale in Maryland in 1999, see Handguns on Maryland Roster (you will need to be a member of Maryland RKBA Alert).

The articles Ballistic Imaging: Not Ready for Prime Time by David B. Kopel, Jeff Chan's Ballistic Fingerprint Page, Orange County Shooters Ballistic Fingerprint Page and The Smallest Minority blog provide informative articles on ballistic fingerprinting technology.

         3.  Children Killed accidentally with firearms is a topic much used by gun control advocates.  Government data shows few children are accidentally killed by firearms in Maryland or the US.  Anti-gun activists have been lying when they imply that 12 or 13 children a day die because of gun owner carelessness.  Actually, fewer children die from accidents with firearms than drown or choke on food or are killed by knives or scissors. 

         4.  Facts about Maryland's Child Homicide Victims -- Marylanders against ONLY handgun violence and other gun Control organizations have pointed to child victims of homicide in Maryland to justify controlling guns.  They claim that Maryland has unusually high numbers of children killed with firearms.  This brief documents the CDC account of children killed in Maryland between 1981 and 2000.  As the brief shows, almost twice as many children are killed without guns as with guns.  Many more lives of children might be saved if the legislature focused on the real problems of violence directed at children rather than ineffective measures like gun control.

         5.  Maryland Suicide Facts -- Gun Control organizations frequently use suicides to argue for restrictions on firearm ownership.  But gun restrictions do not reduce suicides and Maryland's many restrictions have provided no benefit.  The brief documents the statistical picture of suicide in Maryland and sets context by comparing Maryland to the U.S. and to the world.  (if you have formatting problems with the html version, use the PDF version)

         6.  Maryland homicides are cited by gun Control organizations to argue for restrictions on firearm ownership.  This brief points to the failure of restrictions on handguns and Maryland's gun control policies.  The brief documents the statistical picture of homicide in Maryland and sets context by comparing Maryland to the U.S. 

         7.  Our brief Risks to Police from Firearms factually refutes assertions by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) concerning so called assault weapons. They try to use deaths of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) to justify their agenda to ban semi-automatic rifles.  Much of the material in their report "Officer Down, Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement," 2003, contains selective and deceptive data.  Our brief responds with a truthful examination of risks to LEOs and documents the facts about their deaths.  As a specific example of the refutation, no rifle has been used to shoot and kill a Maryland police officer during 1/1/1980 through 12/31/2009, a period of 30 years and the claim made by the VPC and the local group Ceasefire Maryland that an officer was killed in Maryland in 2000 by an assault weapon is a lie. For CeasefireMD's claims see their press release and their letter to the Maryland legislature. Our national data refuting VPC assertions is posted as an Excel spreadsheet in HTML format.

        Data (News and other reports) have been collected on Officers that the VPC alleges were killed with assault weapons. These reports are arranged by year -- warning these files are large.  Details for Officers killed in: [ 1998 ],  [ 1999 ],  [ 2000 ],  [ 2001 ]

        A Table summarizes data on all 41 cases included by the VPC in their "Officer Down" report.  This table is formated to print on 11 by 17 paper.  Details given on this page are taken from news media reports and some more reliable sources and the sources are linked when possible.  The media stories should be treated skeptically -- reporters frequently do not get the right information -- especially concerning firearms.

         The following links contain additional information on risks to Police Officers:
[ FBI UCR LEO KA ], [ FBI Supplemental homicide reports ], [ Lowest Risk in 35 years ],
[ Officer Down Memorial Page ], [ Md Officers Killed ], [ Md Officers Killed 2nd ],
[ Clayton Cramer's "Police Officers Killed With Assault Rifles" ], [ Cramer's 1994 study ],
[ Kopel's study ], [ Policing and Homicide ], [ Risks for 20th Century ], [ Risky Jobs ], [ Stem ],
[ Stem Shooting ]


         Testimony presented to the Maryland Senate on 2/10/04, a revision to that testimony for 2005, and a letter to the editor (Maryland Needs To Change Course On Public Safety!) also address the false VPC assertions about use of assault weapons to kill police officers.  A second letter to the Washington Post (Response to "A Roll Call on Weapons") addresses an unsigned editorial calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

         The state of Florida prepared a report in the early 1990's on the use of assault weapons in crime. That report is posted on the Maryland RKBA eGroup (you'll need to be a member to access) in two parts: [ Part 1 ],  [ Part 2 ]

         8.  Discrimination against young adults -- Gun Control organizations frequently claim young adults (18-21) are more violent than other groups in society.  They argue that guns should be kept from these adults and have succeeded in obtaining Federal Laws against their owning handguns.  Maryland politicians have promoted these age discrimination actions in Maryland's law.  This brief shows that young adults are not disproportionately criminal and such discrimination is not justified for public safety. 

         9.  Gun Injury Costs -- "Gun violence" costs have been estimated and used to justify gun control measures.  Yet gun control organizations only offer "gun violence" cost estimates and do not estimate the benefits to society from lives saved and crimes prevented using firearms.  A cost/benefit analysis was performed by H. Stirling Burnett, NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS, in a section of his report "Suing Gun Manufacturers: Hazardous to Our Health", NCPA Policy Report No. 223, March 1999 (see the section "Costs and Benefits of Firearms").

         Our cost brief does not address benefits, but instead places these "gun violence" costs in context with other costs of society.  In fact, these "gun violence" costs are quite small compared to those for automobile accidents, medical errors, or even the costs of the common cold. 

Updated by Phil Lee on 7/16/10.  Contact maryland_alert# at Yahoo dot com (remove the #; sorry for being obscure, but web mail address scavenge programs make this practice necessary).
 

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