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Opponents of Gun Legislation Flock to Ellicott City Hearing

The Howard County Delegation's public hearing was dedicated, almost entirely, to testimony about newly proposed gun laws.

There were plenty of new faces in the George Howard building Thursday night at the Howard County Delegation’s regular public hearing.

“This is the second time I’ve been in this building,” said Ellicott City resident John Canham.

He joined scores of others who did not attend to speak on legislation specific to Howard County, however. They filled the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building to speak out against proposed Senate Bill 281, legislation which would ban so-called “assault weapons,” and require fingerprinting for all handgun purchase.  

“The legislation is obtusely written,” Canham said after his testimony. “It’s unclear and it’s a violation of the gun owners protection act,” he said, referring to the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986

Throughout the hearing, speakers made reference to SB 281 being a reaction to the shooting in Newtown, Conn. where, in December, 20 children and six adults were killed when police say 20-year-old Adam Lanza went on a shooting spree in Sandy Hook Middle School using a Bushmaster AR-15, one of the guns which would be banned under the new legislation. 

“I find SB 281 has many flaws,” David Mackavoy testified. “It is a knee-jerk reaction to the Newtown tragedy, and does nothing to prevent another tragedy.”

Emotions ran high Thursday night and most speakers were followed by applause from audience, which filled most of the Banneker Room. 

“I get emotional,” Travis Davidson said, excusing his cracked voice. “There’s a hidden agenda to confiscate our weapons … What really should be addressed is a bill to keep the federal government from taking our guns. That’s obvious.” 

“I think anyone who is a proponent of this bill is an enemy of the Constitution,” testified Jesse Roberts, who said he was a veteran who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

He and Del. Frank Turner, D-Howard, exchanged a brief back-and-forth as Turner noted that he, too, had many law enforcement professionals in his family. 

Roberts, who said he was a South Carolina resident who owned property in Howard County, made note of the police officers on patrol at the George Howard Building. 

How many police officers and armed guards are in the schools, he asked, “And how many cops are guarding this county building? I count four.”

Police officers were assigned to the meeting, according to Howard County Police spokesperson Mary Phelan, though “specific details, including the number of officers, are typically not released because they are security matters,” she said. The police presence was, she said, “Routine assignment.”

At a hearing in Annapolis Wednesday, one of those people, who spoke at Thursday’s hearing in Ellicott City said he waited five hours to sign up to speak in Annapolis. 

In Ellicott City Thursday, a few residents did testify on local legislation including two people who spoke in favor of HB 713, legislation that would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to confiscate property and money “ used or intended for use in connection with a violation of specified criminal statutes relating to human trafficking.” 

Michael February 08, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Ban politicians, not guns! Especially autocratic liberal politicians like Obama, O'Malley, Ulman and others, who believe they have the right to remove our rights.
Sanchez February 08, 2013 at 08:50 PM
If we had a comprehensive background check that included a mental health check to RUN FOR OFFICE we would all be in much better hands.
Jesse Roberts February 09, 2013 at 01:45 AM
To clarify I apologized to the police officers for using them in my testimony and thanked them for their service. On the bright side they seemed to agree with my statements.
O.P. Ditch February 09, 2013 at 11:33 AM
"At a hearing in Annapolis Wednesday, more than 500 people signed up to testify about gun control legislation," Excuse me? I think The Patch is derelict in researching this issue. From my research: "According to the office of Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian Frosh, 2,444 people originally signed up to testify. Another 200 or so signed handwritten sheets to voice their opinions. Within the Miller Senate Office Building, the hearing room and two overflow rooms were closed as they reached their rated capacity. The hallways were jammed with people. Thousands of people milled about the State House courtyard outside." Link: http://www.aim.org/aim-column/thousands-oppose-governor-omalleys-ill-conceived-gun-bills/ PLEASE do better research!
O.P. Ditch February 09, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Delegate Turner (D Dist 13), in my book a "gun grabber", sent out an email response to his constituents that reads in part: "...the real challenge is how to collect the thousands of assault weapons already in circulation..."
Kim Dixon February 09, 2013 at 01:09 PM
There is definitely a hidden agenda with the weapon ban. Apply the laws on the books aready just do it in every state across the board. I can see my country becoming alot like Nazi Germany back in the day with the goverment taking weapons from its citizens, and as Paul harvey would say you know the rest of the story.
Sanchez February 09, 2013 at 03:21 PM
We "compromised" in 2000 and forcibly went along with "common sense and reasonable" new firearm laws in the FSA of 2000 signed by Glendening. That law included a provision for "ballistic fingerprinting" of all regulated firearms sold in Maryland. All regulated firearms sold must include a spent fired shell casing which is sent to the MSP for cataloging into a database to be used to compare to casings found at crime scenes in order to trace the "crime gun" to its source. So far that has cost the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars of our hard earned money and what has it accomplished? It has solved ZERO CRIMES! NONE! NADA! When first in place it made purchasing a regulated firearm almost impossible since manufacturers were not complying and just did not ship to Maryland. I challenge anyone to find the issue on the MSP web site or even find the required yearly reports on the program. The MSP are even reluctant to release to the public those reports. One must beg and plead.
Sanchez February 09, 2013 at 03:21 PM
If that scheme was "common sense and reasonable", why is it a failure? Why? BECAUSE it PROVES beyond a doubt that LEGALLY PURCHASED firearms are rarely if ever used in the commission of a crime! THAT is what they want to hide! THAT is why the reports are well hidden. It shows that thyose of us who follow the laws are the ones the laws are aimed at, not those who have plans to do wrong with the tools we all have access to. NO MORE LAWS! NO MORE INFRINGEMENTS! MORE LAWS are not "reasonable" or "common sense"!
Nicholas Aleshin February 09, 2013 at 04:54 PM
If a Conservative doesn't want to eat salt, he doesn't salt his food. If a Liberal doesn't want to consume salt, he removes salt from the table or tries to outlaw it. If a Conservative doesn't want to drink a 32-ounce soft drink, he doesn't drink it. If a Liberal doesn't want to drink a 32-ounce soft drink, he outlaws 32-ounce soft drinks. If a Conservative doesn't want to consume meat, he doesn't eat it. If a Liberal doesn't want to eat it, he attempts to outlaw meat. If a Conservative doesn't want to mow his lawn using a gasoline engine, he does it another way. If a Liberal doesn't want to mow his lawn with a gasoline engine, he tries to outlaw gasoline engines. If a Conservative doesn't want to own a gun, he doesn't obtain one. If a Liberal doesn't want to own a gun, he tries to outlaw guns. There's a definite, predictable pattern here. Contrary to their claims, Liberals have little respect for the U.S. Constitution, and our God-given, natural rights. Our President has already attacked both the first and second amendments and other sections of the U.S. Constitution. A federal court recently ruled that he violated the Constitution regarding recess appointments. Again, there is a definite, predictable pattern with him as well: little respect for the U.S. Constitution. Liberals, Progressives, and Leftists regard the U.S. Constitution as an obstruction on their way to a highly-regulated society with fewer and fewer rights for the individual.
Brook Hubbard February 09, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Please come back when you have studied political science and philosophy before you throw out terms like above. The opposite of a Conservative is not a Liberal, it is a Progressive. Your use of the terms are indicative of a unique American perception, based on labels thrown out by extremists and mass media. All you do by continuing this is maintain an ignorant divisiveness that contributes to the two-party system abused by career politicians to keep themselves in office. The exact definition of a "liberal" is a person who believes in freedom of action and equality for everyone (Young, 2002). Freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom to practice all religions, and freedom from want are key to liberalism (Young, 2002). Liberals believe in practicing democracy and open market trading; in addition they believe in the right of the individual over their own private property (Lalor, 1883).
Brook Hubbard February 09, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Contrary to what people have said, liberalism is not opposing to conservatism. Conservatives believe in these same goals above but prefer to maintain the traditional practices and institutes to uphold them. ~Progressives~ on the other hand believe to uphold the above you need to use the government to change practices and institutes. That is where the dichotomy is... not Liberal vs Conservative, but Progressive vs Conservative. The true opposite of a Liberal is an Authoritarian, and that is something most Americans (Conservative or Progressive) often rail against. Even then, to label someone as one thing is to fall into a fallacious form of "black-and-white" thinking. Some people are conservative on some issues but progressive on others. Fiscal conservatives can be social progressives, religious conservatives can be fiscal progressives, etc. Not to mention, most of us are united in our fight against the corruption of our political system (regardless of party or sociopolitical stance). So please, before adding to the vitriol and ignorance that allows the politicians in office to maintain their control over us... educate yourself. Read up on these terms, their histories, and what they mean. Then post something reasonable that involves critical thought to help educate others.
Brook Hubbard February 09, 2013 at 07:26 PM
References: Donohue, K. (2003). Freedom from want: American liberalism and the idea of the consumer. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Lalor, J. J. (1883). Cyclopedia of political science and of the political history of the United States. Chicago, IL: Melbert B. Cary & Company. Young, S. (2002). Beyond Rawls: An analysis of the concept of political liberalism. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Nicholas Aleshin February 09, 2013 at 10:19 PM
I have studied political science and philosophy: in graduate school. But I do understand what you write. However, most people haven't studied what you and I have. It's also why I wrote "Liberal," rather than liberal. In my final paragraph, you will see that I included "Liberals, Progressives and Leftists." In the 19th century, one called a "liberal," is known today as a "conservative." The opposite of liberty is authoritarianism (note that both words are nouns here, but in your construct, one was an adjective, the other a noun). The opposite of conservatism is radicalism. However in the contemporary context, most speak of Conservatives and Liberals as representing right and left, respectively. Those on the left have demonstrated a definite, predictable pattern: little respect for the U.S. Constitution. Again, those who consider themselves Liberals, Progressives, and Leftists regard the U.S. Constitution as an obstruction on their way to a highly-regulated society with fewer and fewer rights for the individual. Their goal is really authoritarianism, but many well-meaning (and naïve) people get sucked in by the sweet-sounding rhetoric (Lenin termed them "useful idiots"). So, I stand by what I wrote, and hope this clarifies my thoughts for you.
Michaelwritescode February 09, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Gun legislation always brings out the most ludicrous rhetoric and yet nobody provides a clear sensible reason why any civilian would need to own an assault weapon. Rhetoric like this is why it's also legal to own a grenade launcher of all things. Imagine if something like that were used in a massacre like in recent history? When the inevitable next Sandy Hook happens with completely legally purchased and owned assault weapons where will the gun nuts be to take responsibility? Heck why don't we just let civilians purchase and own WMDs and call it a day. DEY CANT TAKE UR RIGHTS AWAY!!!!1
Brook Hubbard February 09, 2013 at 10:53 PM
"Again, those who consider themselves Liberals, Progressives, and Leftists regard the U.S. Constitution as an obstruction on their way to a highly-regulated society with fewer and fewer rights for the individual." And this is the exact generalization and black-and-white thinking that is not indicative of critical thought. How do you know that everyone who labels themselves a Liberal, a Progressive, or a Leftist is out to destroy the Constitution? Because you, or some blog or media site, say so? Let's take a look at me. I've been accused of being what you say above. Why? Because I support LGBT rights? Freedom of ~all~ religions (or lack thereof)? How does that take away rights and highly-regulate society? Then there are people who claim that only Christian values should be taught or supported. That women should be restricted on what they can do with their reproductive systems. Wouldn't you consider that highly-regulating society and creating fewer individual rights? Each person is different. Every Liberal, Leftist, or Progressive is not the same, just as every Conservative is not. I am a Moderate because I choose not to be labeled and to understand that the truth usually lies in the middle, not in the shouts of the extremists at both ends.
Brook Hubbard February 09, 2013 at 11:06 PM
You've been provided with reasons, you just won't accept them. You cling to the illusion of what "assault weapons" are and make fallacious claims to support your poor argument. Grenade launchers? Explosive grenades are already heavily restricted (to the point of being banned). When they refer to restricting grenade launchers, they're not saying at any point people were allowed a device that launched explosive grenades. The device labeled a "grenade launcher" is a smaller version of the military one that is commonly used for things like flares, bean bags, riot control canisters, etc. As for "assault weapons", there is no difference between an AR-15 "assault" rifle and a Benelli R1 hunting rifle, with the exception of appearance and the factory-provided magazine. In fact, the Benelli R1 fires bullets of a higher caliber and might be considered more lethal. Why would people own an AR-15? The ergonomics of the firearm is one. Being easily modified and adjusted for individual shooters makes them ideal for competitive shooters and hunters. Similarly, people who have problems with standard firearms, including slight builds, handicaps, etc. find the AR-15's ability to be fitted to them great for home defense purposes. In addition, the intimidation factor of an AR-15 (versus a shotgun or pistol) is a factor in home defense.
Brook Hubbard February 09, 2013 at 11:12 PM
As for your mention of Sandy Hook, do you know how many mass shootings were committed with "assault weapons" in the past decade? Five... out of 27. How many of those were committed with legally purchased and owned assault weapons? Three... and Sandy Hook was not one of them. Adam Lanza killed his mother and took her firearms; he did not legally own any of it.
Nicholas Aleshin February 10, 2013 at 02:59 AM
True, every Liberal, Progressive and Leftist is not the same, but they do have much in common, and this is what I highlighted in my earlier e-mails. What they hold in common is 1) little respect for the U.S. Constitution, which they consider an obstruction on their way to a highly-regulated society with fewer and fewer rights for the individual, and 2) an authoritarian "death wish." They may not know it, but the seeds of their destruction -- and everyone else's -- are included in their leftist political remedies to society's ills. The USSR and Nazi Germany were both creatures of leftism. Both were socialist, and both were murderous regimes that caused true suffering for hundreds of millions of people. I don't believe that every Liberal, Progressive, or a Leftist is out to consciously destroy the Constitution. I also wrote that many well-meaning (and naïve) people get sucked in by the sweet-sounding rhetoric (Lenin termed them "useful idiots"). Put a frog into boiling water and he jumps out. But put a frog into cold water and gradually turn up the heat, and you will boil him. Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Brook Hubbard February 10, 2013 at 03:48 AM
You just said "true" then reiterated the same erroneous generalization I refuted. How does that counter any argument when you're still saying the same thing over and over again without proof? No, not every Liberal, Progressive, and Leftist is the same. Gandhi and Stalin are both "left wing". Are they the same? Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Nader are both "liberal". Are they the same? No, because each may fall at the same point on one sociopolitical axis, but they vary greatly on others. No, not every Liberal, Progressive, and Leftist has little respect for the U.S. Constitution. I just provided examples of how Liberal and Progressive ideas fight to give ~everyone~ rights, the opposite of working toward an authoritarian "death wish". How do things like the 19th Amendment and various Civil Rights Acts regulate society and remove individual rights?
Brook Hubbard February 10, 2013 at 03:50 AM
The USSR arose because Stalin, who was a Leftist-Authoritarian (the opposite of a Liberal) took the teachings of Marx and Lenin and perverted them for his own. It was not because Liberal ideas are the road to Hell. Are you saying Gandhi and the Dalai Lama's teachings are the seeds of destruction? The Nazi party, despite the moniker "Socialist", was anything but. Adolf Hitler's behavior was Moderate-to-Right and completely Authoritarian. Do you know who else leans to the Right? Pretty much every major president except for Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson. What I don't understand is, if you took PoliSci and Philo in grad school, why your generalization doesn't acknowledge these facts? What school did you graduate from where you would forgo all critical thought to make such blanket, unsupported generalizations?
Sanchez February 10, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Gun legislation always brings out the most ludicrous rhetoric and yet nobody provides a clear sensible reason why any civilian would not need to own an assault weapon if they so choose. "When the inevitable next Sandy Hook happens" Already HAS, TWICE! In Chicago so far this year alone. over 50 killed.

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