From Friends of David R. Craig:
Candidate for Maryland Governor and Harford County Executive David R. Craig said using up to 200 front line employees at several state agencies to process record numbers of firearm purchase applications is the wrong approach that invites errors and security breaches.
Craig called on the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General to develop a plan that protects sensitive information and uses sworn police officers to process a backlog of the forms required for background checks. The paperwork glut is an unanticipated consequence of some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws taking effect in Maryland next month. The additional agencies have no experience processing information on a specialized form that requires social security numbers among other sensitive information.
“Numerous state agencies with no experience in this will be tripping over themselves pretending to mop up the mess created by this ill-conceived legislation,” said Craig. “Moreover, in a state with the most entrenched political monopoly in the nation, there is absolutely no incentive to do the job right, because their ultimate objective has already been accomplished which is to seek media attention and exploit tragedies.”
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings, Governor Martin O’Malley introduced and signed into law this year Senate Bill 281, which bans certain weapons for sale, limits magazine rounds and requires fingerprints among other restrictions. Fearing continued erosion of their second amendment rights, buyers rushed to purchase firearms. Weekly firearm purchase applications are now running over 2400 per week, a three-fold increase over that seen in recent years. The unprocessed backlog is nearly 40,000 according to the most recent Maryland State Police data. Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler, both gubernatorial candidates, endorsed the legislation and support the use of inexperienced state government workers to process the paperwork.
“The people who are now entrusted with the sensitive task of processing background check information work at agencies that enable identity theft according to the state’s own auditors. Even more troubling, one of these agencies encouraged criminal activity among prison inmates,” said Craig, referring to the infamous case in which correction officers enabled a criminal gang to commandeer the state-owned Baltimore City Detention Center. “The agency whose operational personnel are charged with abetting criminal activity is now privy to sensitive information on tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens.”
Employees at the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene,Transportation, Public Safety and Correctional Services, Human Resources and Juvenile Services will be assigned to the new gun processing application detail. O’Malley successfully sought a $4 million supplemental appropriation to process the paperwork avalanche.
“Marylanders have grown accustomed to the bungling of basic government functions in the O’Malley-Brown Administration,” said Lt. Governor candidate and state delegate Jeannie Haddaway. “At the very least the attorney general, who claims to be in charge of consumer protection, should insist that basic security protocols are established.”