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.
- Governor Martin O'Malley
I am writing to you to in support of Delegate Luiz Simmons campaign to close Maryland’s “Gun Control Loophole” by funding an information exchange between the Department of Corrections and the State Police. This initiative will prevent deadly escalation of domestic violence. It will help law enforcement remove weapons from violent criminals who by pre-existing law should already have had their weapons confiscated. And it will bring Maryland one step closer to the goals you set fourth when you signed the Firearm Safety Act of 2013: a safer Maryland with responsible gun-ownership.
Currently, the database of convicted violent criminals, managed by the Department of Corrections, has no communication with the database of registered gun owners managed by the State Police. Delegate Simmons’ campaign is fighting for a program that will link these two databases, so we can establish if violent criminals illegally possess firearms. The cost of creating this program would be approximately $350,000, and it would cost about $35,000 a year to hire an officer to run the software.
Governor O’Malley, we NEED to set aside these funds. 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. Responsible gun ownership means taking responsibility for the 80,000 assault weapons grandfathered in under your Firearm Safety Act, and making sure they are not still in the hands of the violent, the dangerous, or the abusive.
I urge you to support this campaign for a safer Maryland. Lives depend on it.
Delegate Luiz Simmons started this petition with a single signature, and now has 868 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.