From Harford County Sheriff
Passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 by the House of Representatives is the most important step in the gun rights debate since the ratification of the 2nd Amendment in 1791. Rights guaranteed to all in the Constitution of the United States, are not discretionary across state lines.
As the elected Sheriff of Harford County with more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and public safety, I believe it is the right of all law abiding citizens to own a firearm. I also believe those citizens should have the ability to wear and carry a handgun in the State of Maryland and across this Country for their personal protection.
Many Maryland politicians will tout the “success” of such efforts as the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 and are not shy to falsely espouse such efforts as “common sense” gun safety laws. It is telling that they stand by these claims even in the face of unprecedented levels of violence committed in our State by career criminals who have no interest in abiding by any rules imposed by our legislatures.
Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits across the nation has increased from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million; and during that same period murder rates have fallen from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people to 4.2, about a 25% decrease, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center. In fact, forty-two states already recognize an individual’s right to carry a firearm absent a legitimate legal or health related reason as to why they should be restricted from the right to carry.
Law abiding citizens are choosing to protect themselves and their families, and there is no reason these citizens should be made into “criminals” for simply driving across a state line. Legislation at the Federal or State level that empowers criminals is not the answer. Passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a step in the right direction for our Country and for the State of Maryland.
I applaud members of the House of Representatives for passing the measure and call on Maryland’s Senators, Cardin and Van Hollen, to support the measure in the Senate and restore our 2nd Amendment rights nationwide.