General Assembly to Take On Gun Control in 2013

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Opening of the State of Maryland legislature Annapolis, Md

In response to the question Rob Heubeck posed in the headline to his article, “As Another Shooting Tragedy Occurs, Are We Growing Numb?”, put me down for a “Maybe not.” I have my anecdotal experience — namely that the number of rants I see on Facebook calling for overhauls of our country’s mental health services and gun access laws is much greater than what I saw in the aftermath of the Aurora shooting or either Wisconsin shooting. Not to mention the White House released a statement yesterday promising to address gun control in the coming weeks.

And Maryland is seizing the moment as well. By some measures, we already have rather strict gun-access laws; gun owners must be at least 21 years old, endure a waiting period, and submit to a background check. And there are a number of disqualifying factors. Still, “45 different types of semi-automatic weapons” are legal, including the Bushmaster rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting. And several lawmakers are intending to introduce tighter gun-control measures in the 2013 legislative session, including banning all assault weapons and making background checks more thorough.

New gun-control legislation was introduced in 2010 only to die in committee. But I have a feeling there may be a better chance this year — partly because cliches like the one used by Del. Michael D. Smigiel (“People will try to politicize this and pass anti-Second Amendment legislation that will further create problems for the innocent and the law abiding.”) are starting to sound more and more like the wah-wah-wah of Charlie Brown’s parents.

That said, let’s hope that both sides in the gun debate appeal to a reasoned analysis of facts and figures, as opposed to simple emotional equations.

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  1. I’m not numb. My eyes well up off and on all day. When the outrage and sorrow soften it will be beause of the ordinary progression of grief. This time, this time, this time we may do something.

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