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The Exile Project

Posted on March 14, 19100 at 22:23:08:
Senator Dyson
In the film classic Shane, farmwife Jean Arthur chastises the movie’s gunfighter hero, Alan Ladd, intent on saving a homesteaders land from some ruffians, for possessing a handgun. “It’s not the gun,” Ma’am, it’s the man using the gun you have to concern yourself with,” Shane (Ladd) says.

Shane of course used his gun just as the Second Amendment was created for -- he used it to protect himself and those he loved.

Two major bills that would legislate those who use guns are making a lot of news in this year’s General Assembly session. One is being pushed hard by the governor. This bill has made the lion’s share of the news. This is Governor Glendening’s “Smart Gun” bill that would require gun manufacturers to install digital safety locks on all new guns. The problem with this bill is that the technology is currently in the research and development stage and has never been adequately tested. The governor wants “Smart Guns” mandatory by 2002, but there is no indication that this technology will be anywhere close to being operational by that year. It is still many years away. In essence, what the governor wants is not possible. It makes no sense to debate a bill that is currently impossible to enforce because the technology for “Smart Guns” simply is not available.

Like smoking cessation education programs -- which can be very effective, perhaps the governor should refocus his attention from “Smart Guns” to something we can do, educate law-abiding gun owners how to protect their children and their friends by keeping guns locked away in a safe place where young, curious people can’t get ahold of these weapons.

Another gun bill that I support wholeheartedly and am proud to co-sponsor, does not regulate good, law-abiding gun owners practicing their Second Amendment rights. Instead it goes after the criminals who are illegally purchasing and possessing handguns for the simple reason of committing a crime with them.

Project Exile (Senate Bill 303) will do a lot to keep guns out of criminals’ hands. If passed, this popular bill would make it a felony to possess and intend to use a firearm, display a firearm in a threatening manner or attempt to use a firearm on school property. It would also require that a person convicted of certain felonies be subject to more severe penalties than they are already. Additionally it would increase criminal penalties for a person who is convicted of possessing a regulated firearm after having been previously convicted of a crime of violence or a felony. It also prohibits a District Court Commissioner from authorizing the pretrial release of a defendant charged with a crime. It has a series of other harsh conditions for those who use guns for illegal purposes.

This is good legislation. If there is any good control, this is it.

The latest rash of shootings the past two weeks -- the orphaned six-year old who killed another six year-old, the man who shot up and killed several at a McDonald’s are just terribly sad, horrible, random events. I still grieve for all of those innocent victims of the senseless Columbine tragedy. Perhaps Project Exile may have been a deterrent for all of those who illegally possessed the guns involved in all tragedies -- the guardian of the six-year old killer, the McDonald’s killer and the now-notorious Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- the assassins of those killed at Columbine High School.

I encourage you to support Project Exile by reaching the members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee: Senators Walter Baker (chairman), Leo Green (co-chairman), Richard Colburn Timothy Ferguson, Jennie Forehand, Larry Haines, Ralph Hughes, Philip Jimeno, Clarence Mitchell IV and Alex Mooney.

We need to remember Shane’s immortal words. In the hands of good people who know how to use them, guns can be used for what they were intended to be used for under the Second Amendment -- to protect one’s own life, the lives of their loved ones, outdoor sporting activities and hunting. Project Exile does not infringe on the Second Amendment, it simply goes towards helping keeping guns out of those who shouldn’t be carrying them. Those who plan to do harm with them.

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