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Del. Boteler: Gun Control Is Not The Answer

Gun control is not the issue. Concerns need to be refocused to mental health issues and better ways to address the needs of those citizens who need help but are not able to obtain help on their own.

The General Assembly is set to begin hearings this week on the most controversial gun legislation it has seen in more than a decade. Since the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary the national gun debate has changed night and day and Maryland is pushing for lights out on guns. Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposal would require a license for handgun purchases, expand background checks, ban the sale of assault weapons and limit magazines to 10 bullets.

The problem is Maryland already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, particularly in Baltimore. However, it also has one of the highest rates of gun crime. The Sun's Justin George reported this weekend, only about 1 percent of the weapons Baltimore police seized last year would qualify as assault weapons, and the overwhelming majority of weapons used in Baltimore crimes are handguns. The requirement to purchase a license for all handguns would mean Marylanders would have to pay a $100 licensing fee, in addition to other costs and training. This is severely limiting the scope of those who are able to purchase a gun, putting law abiding citizens in harm’s way because they are not able to defend themselves. Guns are going to become a luxury that only the rich can afford, while criminals will still be able to find ways to purchase guns on the black market. 

So instead of throwing our citizens into harm’s way, we should be focusing on the basic problems plaguing our nation. Concerns need to be refocused to mental health issues and better ways to address the needs of those citizens who need help but are not able to obtain help on their own. Our job as Legislators should be dedicated to funding mental health facilities in Maryland. The horrible massacres that have occurred are a result of unstable individuals not getting the help they need, not guns. The issue of mental health is only addressed after something has gone wrong, not as a preventative measure and this is our nation’s biggest mistake. We should not punish law abiding citizens and take away their ability to defend themselves just because we have failed to take the proper steps in preventing massacres that are only committed by mentally unwell individuals. 

We also need to work towards accountability for our children. Parents need to be aware of the type of violence that their children observe in the video games and movies that are deemed acceptable today. Advocating violence by glamorizing it is only adding to the problem of altering the scope of how our children view the world in which they live. 

Sincerely,

Delegate Joe Boteler III

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-Richard Henry Lee

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Gregg Roberts February 21, 2013 at 09:34 AM
Gun control is not an American stance. "Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." George Washington First President of the United States "The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them." Thomas Paine "Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not." Thomas Jefferson Third President of the United States "The great object is that every man be armed." and "Everyone who is able may have a gun." Patrick Henry American Patriot Utah was very smart is not attempting to control guns by law abiding citizens but ARMING teachers as a reaction to increased gun violence. Yes, we need to treat the mentally ill. We need to pay for it with our taxes.
Gregg Roberts February 21, 2013 at 09:38 AM
But not everybody that uses guns is mentally ill. They are just evil. Knowing that their fellow, peaceable citizens are armed will make hooligans, mentally ill or otherwise think twice and if he still doesn't then the good man can shoot him before he is shot ..as well as potentially others like in a school shooting incident. "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … " Thomas Jefferson letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.
Mark Patro February 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Its very simple math. The more guns there are the more gun incidents there will be. SOME of them will be incidents of self protection. As much as folks would like to talk about self protection, the conversation should be focussed on reduction of misuse. We need to find a way to reduce suicide by guns that parents leave laying around unattended. We need to talk about how to reduce straw purchases of illegally obtain hand guns. And we need an honest conversation about the use of semi automatic guns in these horrific mass shootings. The only way to do that is to put tighter rules on accessing guns in the first place. The "mentally ill" conversation is part of this conversation, but it is not the only answer. It appears to me that gun proponants are only focussed on themselves as gun owners. We need to balance the rights of all the rest of us that want to live in a less violent society. Gun COntrol IS part of the answer, not the entire answer.
Mark Patro February 22, 2013 at 08:08 PM
this will help Move Maryland in the right direction: https://www.change.org/petitions/support-solutions-to-gun-violence-that-work#
Leon March 01, 2013 at 03:50 AM
As always Joe Botler is rigt on, he shows great leadership, I think we the taxpayers are geting or money worth with Joe, I wish I could say they about the other ones, My hats off to Joe , Leon Benner

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