It was a full house at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Ocean City this afternoon as area residents sat in on a Town Hall Meeting with 1st District Congressman Andy Harris about gun rights and gun issues.
After the most recent incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School, numerous measures have been proposed both at the state level and in Congress that would affect licensing, registration, guns and ammunition. However Congressman Harris says none of these measures – including the legislation proposed by Governor Martin O'Malley would – had they been in place – would have stopped what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
O'Malley's plan is a 4-point measure to limit gun violence and includes a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, strict gun licensing rules, to strengthen school security and aid those with mental illnesses.
Congressman Harris says Maryland already has universal background checks for anyone looking to purchase a gun. However Harris says those checks become a moot point when the state is also one of the worst to submit its data to the NICS. While they do the check – there's little follow up – especially on those who are denied a gun permit. Delaware, on the other hand, is one of the best states in the submission of data to the NICS. (See graphic below)
Residents on both sides of the issue spoke about the numerous bills being proposed and those already on the books being a violation of their second amendment rights, lack of parental involvement in children's lives, violent video games that desensitize children to death and violence, mental health, weapons training and licensing and more.
Delegate Michael McDermott (R-Eastern Shore), has proposed three bills to the Maryland General Assembly which are to be heard in March. All deal with protecting children by creating safer schools – by allowing someone in the school to be armed or to allow a taser to be used or to allow off-duty police to be armed in schools. He says most school superintendents are against the bills. However, those at the Town Hall meeting were mostly in favor of such legislation – including a 15 year old girl who told Congressman Harris that she'd feel safer in school if there was an armed resource officer in the building.
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