Firearms are the most common weapons used in domestic partner homicides. Women with protective orders often report that law enforcement fails to remove firearms from abusive partners. Studies show that a person who commits a crime-- even a misdemeanor—is nearly five times as likely to be charged with new offenses involving firearms or violence.
Here is our problem in Maryland! There are presently 450,000 people who own 800,000 guns in our communities. Under Maryland law, if a gun owner commits a violent crime like domestic assault, car jacking, or burglary, the law requires the gun owner to surrender the gun.
This law can’t be enforced because we have two computers in Maryland that won’t talk to each other. One computer, run by the Department of Corrections, contains all the names of people convicted of violent crimes. The other computer, run by the State police, contains all the names of registered gun owners. The two computers don’t communicate because there is no program that allows them to speak to each other.
The result? If someone who bought a gun is later convicted of a violent crime like domestic violence the State Police have no way of finding out and enforcing the law that requires gun owners convicted of a crime to surrender their weapon.
Incredible, but true.
I have begun a campaign to fight domestic violence and gun crime by closing Maryland’s Gun Control Loophole. The cost is minimal. A new computer program linking the two databases costs $350,000 and an officer to keep track of gun owners convicted of crimes costs about $35,000 a year.
We can afford it. We must afford it—if we are serious about reducing domestic violence and gun crime.
I really need your help.
Please sign our petition, encourage your friends on Twitter and Facebook to do the same. Let’s show Governor O’Malley that we support his efforts to improve upon his 2013 gun control legislation by ensuring that guns are removed from gun owners convicted of violent crimes.