In case you missed it, Florida enacted a new gun law this week. Championed by Governor Ron DeSantis, the bill allows “permitless carry” of concealed firearms. Under the new law, qualifying Floridians can carry a concealed firearm without getting a permit or undergoing training on how to handle a gun. Anyone who is a citizen over 21 and does not have certain felony charges or certain misdemeanor domestic violence charges can purchase a gun and “start packing.”
There’s more to the new law, but “permitless carry” is the provision getting the most attention. Florida joins several other states, including Alaska, West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio, and a handful of other mostly Republican leaning states in allowing permitless carry.
Maryland does not have “permitless carry” and that makes me feel safer. I don’t want untrained gunslingers bringing guns into churches, schools, grocery stores, concert halls, and even my home without my knowing about it. (I tried to think of a less politically charged way to reference the people who will choose to start carrying concealed loaded guns without first being trained in how to use them but could not think of anything else.)
Dare I say it? The concept that concealed weapons make the world safer is nonsense. For every shooting prevented (usually by someone shooting the shooter dead), there are more than an offsetting number of accidental shootings and deaths. The number of such “accidents” increases dramatically among people not trained in the use of firearms.
Curiously, just as Florida continues to expand “gun rights,” Maryland is considering a new law that goes in the opposite direction. The legislation, Senate Bill 1, adds new restrictions to the process of getting a carry permit and, most importantly, would prohibit anyone from knowingly wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm on private property without the consent of the owner. The bill also prohibits guns “under certain circumstances” in areas such as courthouses, hospitals, schools and “areas where alcohol is served.”
The bill is now pending before the House of Delegates. It is sponsored by Senator Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery County), who indicates that the legislation was drafted in response to the Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, a decision that found that “law abiding citizens” do not need a “good and substantial” reason to be permitted to carry a concealed weapon.
I am hopeful that Senate Bill 1 will be enacted into law. Absent any break in the impasse on new national gun safety legislation, we need Annapolis to pass the bill. Unfortunately, that may not happen.
Although Maryland is a progressive state with a clear need for stronger gun safety laws, Senate Bill 1 faces strong opposition. Among the groups opposing the bill is the National Rifle Association (NRA), which tells us: “Senate Bill 1 expands gun-free zones where law-abiding citizens will not be able to carry for self-defense. This patchwork of so-called “sensitive areas” does nothing more than create confusion for law-abiding citizens, while being ignored by criminals. Proponents fail to explain how disarming law-abiding, trained, and licensed individuals will accomplish safety from criminals who do not obey the law. They present no plan to disarm violent criminals, who already ignore existing laws.”
I will spare you a rebuttal of the NRA’s claims except to suggest that fewer guns on the street and fewer people carrying guns, concealed or otherwise, makes for a safer Maryland.
How many more mass shootings, accidental gun deaths caused by children gaining access to improperly stored loaded weapons, and suicides will it take before America accepts that the Second Amendment was never intended to make buying and using a gun dramatically simpler than buying and driving a car?
And what about those of us who hunt or feel the need to have a gun in our home for self-defense? There is nothing in Senate Bill 1 that will impinge on your rights. Hunters and law-abiding citizens should support Senator Waldstreicher’s bill.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.
Letters to Editor
Mike Wong says
You article is very well written. The only issue is that is has no mention of facts and data. Your philosophical perspective on firearm usage and how it relates to protection and crime are completely wrong and not based on facts and data. What a shame to the people that don’t understand the difference and take your word as fact.
John Dean says
Thank you for reading the article. I disagree that my “philosophical perspective on firearm usage and how it relates to protection and crime are completely wrong and not based on facts and data.” You don’t cite any data, but the idea of having more guns on the street makes us safer is nonsense. Similarly, the idea that allowing people with no training on how to handle a firearm to carry one with no permit is also nonsense.
I appreciate your right to disagree, but I don’t think my perspective is either “completely wrong” or “not based on facts and data.”
Gregory Grimes says
I will agree with some of the statements made in this article. First I do believe that everyone that wishes to carry a handgun should complete some type of safety class before carrying a firearm. I was trained by the United States Military and by the department of corrections in Ga. I do not agree to the fact of stricter gun laws on law abiding citizens. Sure you can take my guns but you will not stop the crime. Tell me one criminal that abides by the law. You can take my gun but all you have done is make me a helpless victim. As far as banning the AR 15 type of rifle I don’t care one way or the other. But think about this. If you do ban it they will just replace it with something else. Not only that, the criminals will find a way to get what he needs or wants. I had lived in Fl most of my life and now I live in Md. I will tell you I felt a lot safer in Fl. I have carried a concealed weapon for over 30 years and have never had to use it yet. I hope I never have to but I want to be able to make that decision when the time comes. I don’t want my family or friends dead because I didn’t have the right to defend them. I agree that we do need to find a way to stop the killing but there will never be a way to do that. Take all the guns in the world away and they will still find a way. Let’s name a few. Cars,bombs, knives, bows, and let’s not forget clubs. You say you can probably stop some of them. That’s true but not all. Let’s forget this one. Poison. Can’t see it coming but the damage it can do. You can’t ban everything. So we can argue this all day long and still not come up with a solution. I don’t have an answer and neither do you. There are things we can do to help but we can’t stop it.
John Dean says
Thank you for reading the article.
I think all of us are trying to find an answer and know that a complete solution (a law that ends gun violence) may be impossible. I still believe we need make some common sense reforms and, more importantly, avoid going backwards. I am perplexed at why Florida would want to allow permitless concealed carry with no mandatory training. That seems to be asking for accidents to happen.
I also believe that arming teachers is a bad idea. Teachers don’t want to carry guns in the classroom and it is easy to imagine accidents.
All that having been said, thanks for your comment based on your real-world experience.
Deirdre LaMotte says
Yes. Curious that Florida advocate arming teachers with weapons but do not trust them to select books for their students.
The Right is on a quick downward spiral, taking the GOP with it.
Julian Roth says
Depending on where you at buying a gun is not as simple as people make it out to be.
John Dean says
Thanks for reading the piece and for your comment. I agree that buying a gun is not as simple as some people make it out to be. The gun buying process should be complicated enough to require background checks so as to prevent people with criminal backgrounds, mental health issues, or other conditions that make it dangerous to have a gun.
David Caccavalla says
None of these Maryland Gun laws will do any god there should be penalties for improper storage of firearms. Mandatory free training, strong penalties for criminals even carrying a gun and committing crimes. Like 20 years for just having a gun on you when committing a crime. Better fre mental health. Hardened schools not Gun free zones just makes them a target. Also get rid of social media for anyone under 18. Sounds crazy but I believe it’s one of the biggest problems.
John Dean says
Thanks for reading the piece even though we are on different pages on the issue of Senate Bill 1. I agree with you on mandatory free training, strong penalties for use of a gun in the commission of a crime. I also agree with you social media is a problem. I’m not sure it can be banned for persons under 18, but it is a problem.
James Lewis says
You would think a lawyer understands the concept that criminals don’t obey the law! These laws simply disarm law abiding citizens and make them easy meat for criminals. Look at where most mass shootings have occurred – so called “gun free zones”.
When was the last time you heard about a mass shooting at a gun show, NRA meeting, or in a police bar.
John Dean says
Thanks for reading the piece. I think I understand the concept that criminals often don’t obey the law. I also understand that if getting a gun were more difficult, fewer criminals would have them. Also, please consider the fact that many gun accidents happen as a result of guns being so easy to acquire. I also believe that guns and alcohol don’t mix–even in police bars.
All that having been said, I appreciate your reading the piece and commenting.
Deirdre LaMotte says
If gun control was put on the ballot for every American to vote on, it would pass. Gun lobbyist have more power than the American people because North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, etc., have more power than other states; our system is tilted in favor of cows and cornfields over human beings.
The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban was passed with bi partisan support, with former Presidents Ford, Reagan and Carter encouraging passage. Citizens United and huge jumps in NRA $$$ caused the sunset in 2004. The Federal ban lessoned mass shootings and the total benefit of the ban was only beginning to take effect when it expired.
No need to repeal the Second Amendments. Our society needs to interpret it correctly. It’s actually a meaningless anachronism now that we have a standing army created in the 20th century. No one gave it much thought until the NRA perverted it
during and after the 1970’s for financial reasons. Ban the manufacture and sales to civilians of .223 ammunition. Restrict it only for military use. Make the AR15 wall decor, like at Cracker Barrell so sad people can reminisce.
The $64,000 question is: Why are American men so threatened that they feel they need all these guns to assert
their masculinity. Perhaps we have a very dangerous phallic replacement to help poor males. UGH!
John Dean says
Thanks for reading the piece. I’m not sure about your $64,000 question. I believe the issues involved in gun safety are more complicated than that.
That having been said, thanks for your comment.