If You Review All the Provisions, You Will See That This Gun Law Has Teeth

Article excerpt

In response to reporter Sean Scully's article "Gun law wide off the mark" (Oct. 1), pertaining to the Maryland Gun Violence Act of 1996, I would like you to consider the following facts:

* This law was written to have as little impact as possible on the "law abiding citizen."

* Prior to enactment of this law, there was no provision in the Maryland statute to prohibit "straw purchases."

* Maryland is the supplier of a majority of the guns used in crimes in Maryland. An example is that the Maryland State Police successfully traced 20 guns used in crimes between November 1995 and February 1996; of those, only two were in the hands of the original purchaser. Two were in the hands of a person with the same last name as the original purchaser, and 16 were in the hands of other persons. In the Project Lead study in Baltimore City from 1993 to 1995, 2,465 guns used in crimes were traced; only 60 were in the hands of the original purchaser. This is indicative of a thriving, unrestricted secondary-sales market in the state. The secondary-sales provision of this law, in conjunction with the one-gun-in-30-days provision, will reduce the availability of regulated firearms to prohibited persons in Maryland.

* The one-gun-in-30-days law in Virginia, enacted in July 1993, has been successful in reducing firearm trafficking from that state. According to a report completed by the Virginia State Crime commission this year, the Virginia law has disrupted the so-called "iron pipeline" of weapons used in criminal activity flowing from the Southeast along the Interstate 95 corridor to Northeastern states. …