Gun control a hot issue for O'Malley, Obama

I am writing to share my perspective on the rush by President Barack Obama and Gov. Martin O'Malley to enact more gun control legislation ("Gun control at front of O'Malley's legislative list," Jan. 19).

I feel that both are using the school shooting tragedies to further their political agendas. Background checks and gun show loopholes had nothing to do with the Sandy Hook, Conn., school shooting.

The gun that was used was owned by the perpetrator's mother, and he killed her with it. The president and governor want to limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. This will not stop the murderous rampages by people wanting to commit heinous acts.

Many citizens have purchased high-quality firearms with standard 12- and 15-round magazines. The firearms were purchased legally for collections, shooting sports or self- protection. If legislation was passed to prevent possessing such magazines, many law-abiding citizens who have never been charged with a crime would be in violation of the law if they didn't surrender their magazines. That, in my opinion, would be the real crime.

Maryland requires a background check prior to the purchase of a handgun. I support this as I do not want to see guns in the hands of someone who is disqualified to possess a firearm. I can also support legislation for sales at gun shows. Maryland already requires that.

But Mr. O'Malley's idea of requiring people to be fingerprinted before they purchase a handgun is ridiculous. How does he think a fingerprint will prevent a straw purchase?

What would help is if we had the guts to send someone to jail for five years mandatory for completing a straw purchase. But we can't do that because we are too "civilized" and that would be "cruel" — just like the governor is too civilized to execute people convicted of murdering another human being.

Most of those murders were probably committed with a gun that the killer wasn't allowed to have, but we don't execute people for that. They didn't commit the murder; the "bad" gun did it.

So instead we prevent law-abiding citizens from legally buying and possessing handguns if they have magazines with more than10 rounds.

I would like to see the existing gun laws enforced more vigorously. If straw purchases are the problem, and the guns are being used in crimes, where are the prosecutions of those who purchase such weapons?

I'd also like to stop seeing the National Rifle Association being demonized because it lobbies for gun owners' rights. The NRA is made up of ordinary citizens who are as law-abiding as the people who oppose gun ownership.

Ron Wilhelm

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