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I remember from my childhood a song lyric that read, “Once you trade magic for fact there are no trade-backs.” Have we now entered a point in our political evolution where the reverse has happened and we are now trading fact for magic? In my home state of Maryland, a state where a Democratic super-majority in the state legislature and a Democratic governor have unfettered political control, law-making is seemingly guided by an allegiance to magic. I want to highlight a new proposal on Governor O’Malley’s agenda: a gun-control measure in the form of a bullet limit regulation on magazines.
The tragedy in Newtown has sparked a long-overdue, national conversation regarding targeted violence in our society. A conversation that, in my experience as both a former law-enforcement officer and Secret Service agent, should have been focused on cultural issues and mental health treatment, rather than a war on our God-given right to protect ourselves and our families in a dangerous world.
Despite any evidence that established regulatory measures have curbed targeted violence, and despite the obvious fact that having a firearm enables you to stand a fighting chance when confronted with one, our governor continues to push for more restrictions based on media sound bites. I single out magazine size because in my sixteen-years-plus of experience with firearms as a Secret Service agent, I have never come into contact with a criminal who felt that magazine regulations on the number of permissible bullets was a barrier to him; it is only the legal gun-owner who now is limited in his ability to defend himself.
The data has been rehashed for weeks by a variety of outlets, and the arguments are ongoing. My goal here is just to speak to you from the perspective of a father, a husband and a former Secret Service agent who spent his life designing plans to prevent violent acts from occurring. I am not a member of the National Rifle Association, and, despite the ability to do so for the majority of my adult life, I rarely have carried my firearm off-duty.
Most political commentators and elected officials I have heard recently speaking on the issue have never made an arrest for a gun crime, have never investigated a gun crime, have very little (if any) experience handling weapons, and most importantly, have never seen the horror of a gun crime up close and personal. Yet, the aforementioned individuals comment freely, unabashedly expressing their feeling that your ability to protect yourself should be curtailed because they know “what you need” and what you don’t.
The criminals I have investigated and interviewed, who have been in possession of weapons, all have a common story to tell regarding firearms: laws do not matter. Yes, this is tragic and unfortunate to write, and there is nothing I would like more than for Pandora ’s Box to be retroactively closed and for gunpowder and the human propensity for violence to be banished, but that is magic. Limiting a firearm magazine to ten bullets or to seven bullets, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did recently, is law-making based on magic– the magic of intentions, and not the reality of results. Criminals, whose entire livelihood centers on the ability to use force against you, will not follow this law and will likely not even be aware of it.
There are millions of thirty-plus bullet magazines in circulation that, due to both the ease of construction and durability, will continue to be readily available to lawbreakers eager to use them on you. Yet, law-abiding citizens will be subject to a ten-bullet limit and in the tragic circumstance that a weapon is used against them, the numbers are not in their favor. Making matters worse, the value of these magazines acquired through home theft and illegal trafficking, which will continue, will rise dramatically and create a black market. Either way, you lose. I wish all of this were not so, but I live in a world of facts. Having been a firsthand witness to the horrid aftermath of deadly violence brought to bear on a victim, I owe my family a fighting chance. That is my right.
Tags: black market, bullet, experience, Governor, Governor O'Malley, gun, gun control, gun crime, lawbreakers, legislation, magazine, Maryland, regulation, secret service, target, violent
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