Marylanders Send Letters, Demand An End To Arbitrary Firearm Licensing
Maryland grassroots organization Maryland Shall Issue pushes for a bill that will end arbitrary discrimination in permitting law-abiding citizens to carry firearms. They propose a system that would allow anyone who passes an FBI background check, isn't a felon, isn't mentally ill, and passes a safety course to receive a permit, similar to the shall-issue laws in 37 other states, including Virginia.
Maryland Shall Issue has gathered hundreds of volunteers, distributed more than 2500 bumper stickers, collected over a thousand letters to Governor Ehrlich and other representatives, and made their presence known at ranges and gun shows across the state. Their goal is to pass legislation allowing any qualified citizen to carry a firearm.
MSI represents all political parties, minorities, women, crime victims, and anyone who believes that self-defense is a right, not an arbitrary privilege. "Anywhere I say to someone that 'a businessman who carries cash can get a permit but a woman who has been raped cannot' people want to see that changed," one representative says. Another volunteer adds, "Knowledge of self-defense is empowering. A feminist should not be afraid to leave her apartment. A feminist should not depend on men, whether police, boyfriends, or helpful bystanders, for protection."
Shall Issue legislation saves lives, according to studies by Dr. John R. Lott, Jr. and others. Averaging crime data from all 3,054 US counties, when shall issue laws are passed, murder falls 8%, rapes fall 5%, and aggravated assault falls 7%. Crime in Maryland is significantly higher than crime in the neighboring state of Virginia. Maryland has the 3rd highest rate among the states for murder. Virginia has the 20th highest rate for murder.
Maryland Shall Issue can be found at http://marylandshallissue.org.