Monday evening a crowd of over 500 people showed up at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center to hear some of their elected officials discuss current federal and state initiatives to curtail Marylanders’ right to keep and bear arms. The meeting, hosted by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) and Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis featured the two hosts, Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B), Wicomico State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello, Worcester Sheriff Reggie Mason as well as Sheriff’s (and their representatives) from around the state.
Each speaker emphasized the individual’s God-given right to bear arms, not just for hunting and sporting purposes, but for the protection of one’s person, family and community. Another common theme was the fact that pending federal and state legislation do nothing to stop gun crime, but will make criminals out of law-abiding citizens.
Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis spoke and acted as the moderator for the evening’s event. He emphasized the importance of our second amendment rights. He was obviously torn over the potential consequences of pending state legislation. Lewis noted that he swears an oath to protect and uphold the constitution of the United States, the state of Maryland and to enforce the laws of the state; given that most county Sheriff’s believe that this legislation strips Marylanders of their rights to keep and bear arms. Lewis provided an excellent analogy from the infamous Dred Scott decision - Slaves could not bear arms, because they are not citizens.
Congressman Harris made a moving argument regarding the consequences of attempts to strip citizens of their guns:
“Many of you already know my story. My parents escaped from communism in the Ukraine right after World War II. In communist regimes, the first thing they do is disarm the citizens.”
Harris also demonstrated the hypocrisy of claims that more gun control is about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals:
“In 2011, over 76,000 people were caught lying on their ATF form stating that they could legally purchase a firearm. How many were actually prosecuted? 62! … Prosecute people who break the law!”
While every speaker received a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd, Del. Mike McDermott was probably the most impassioned speaker among many impassioned speakers. McDermott emphasized that pending state legislation calls for registration of firearms and will require gun owners to go through a background check (with fingerprint) and could cost each law-abiding gun owner over $200. This is on top of the other tax and fee increases already heaped on citizens just in this session.
“This legislation does NOTHING to stop criminals. However, on November 1st it will make a criminal out of many of YOU.”
State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello gave examples of current cases his office is working on:
“Before I came over here tonight, I was in my office looking at some pending cases – burglary, armed robbery, murder, attempted murder. Everyone involved a gun. NONE of those crimes was committed with a LEGALLY OBTAINED firearm!”