Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Record Breaking Murder Rate in Baltimore City - Is Gun Control Working?

"This law will begin saving lives on October 1 (2013)."  - Vincent DeMarco, President, Marylanders against Gun Violence (July, 2013).

Well, a few months after one of the nation's strictest gun control laws went into effect, Baltimore's Mayor, Police Commissioner, and other dignitaries are on a full press junket - now stretching into two months - to explain away the lack of law and order in Maryland's largest city.    While the City's worst annual murder total stands at 355 (0.70 murders per day), 2014's beginning offered up 0.78 murders per day, on track to hit nearly 400 total murders this year, despite record-setting cold months that kept most Baltimoreans indoors and presumably out of harm's way.  Historically, few murders occur in the coldest months, with high murder rates most associated with high summer heat and a lack of air conditioning forcing large numbers of people out into the community until the early, cooling, hours of morning.  Mathematically, this means the carnage could escalate not just arithmetically but nonlinearly.

As Mayor Rawlings-Blake told the Baltimore Brew, "We have a strategy that we know works."  Here's the thing.  No you don't.  Over 50% of adults in the city do not work (yes, some of those are retired). Over 50% of city children never receive their GED or high school diploma, and nearly 40% don't even make it to 9th grade.  Over 70% of violent felons get convicted again - in the City.  Over 75% of murder victims are convicted felons who previously served jail time. Baltimore is ranked between the #1 and #6 most dangerous city in America every year, and is currently ranked the #12 most dangerous city in the world.   I apologize, Madame Mayor, but you "have a strategy that (you) know works?"  What? How? When?   Quite seriously, the failing communities, systems, and infrastructure in this City are clear indicators that most things aren't working.

The Mayor, who some will recall made grandiose comments in 2013 about how City neighborhoods are under siege from criminals, yet also noted that the obvious way (to her) to correct that problem would be to limit legal citizens' access to guns to protect themselves from criminals.   Her exact words were that the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 "deserves our full support."  The Act makes it prohibitively difficult and expensive for a large number of Marylanders to legally purchase and own a handgun, and also banned some assault rifles (responsible for less than 2% of the City's crime).

So, with 2014 only 90-some days old and nearly 50 Baltimoreans buried in the ground, having been murdered by firearms that were promised to be swept of the streets by Governor O'Malley's Gun Safety bill, perhaps we should pass another law, you know, "close the loopholes."  Let's look at the existing firearms laws in Baltimore and see - critically - the impact they are having on crime.

1.  In Baltimore, it is illegal to discharge any firearm at any time for any reason other than police business.
2.  In Baltimore, it is nearly impossible to obtain a concealed weapons permit (approval rate <1 nbsp="" p="" percent="">3.  In Baltimore, it is a crime to carry a concealed knife.
4.  In Baltimore, it is a crime to "open carry" a handgun (firearms violation)
5.  In Baltimore , it is a crime to display a BB or pellet gun anywhere in public
6.  In Baltimore, it is a crime to "open carry" a rifle or shotgun (disturbing the peace / intimidating the public)
7.  In Maryland, it is impossible to legally purchase an assault weapon (as defined by the state)
8.  In Maryland, it is impossible to legally purchase a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds
9.  In Maryland, it is a crime to shoot anyone (even an intruder in your home) in the back
10.  In Maryland, it is a crime to shoot anyone (for any reason) outside your home
11.  In Maryland and Baltimore, murder is illegal.
12.  In Maryland and Baltimore, maiming via firearm is illegal.
13.  In Maryland, it is a crime to discharge a weapon from a moving vehicle.
14.  In Maryland, it is impossible to legally purchase a handgun without passing 5 background checks, state police fingerprinting, handgun safety training completion, and obtaining a Handgun Qualification License.

I think it's fair to say we have plenty of gun laws.  So why are there still murders at all?  With all the new brand new laws, why are firearms murders happening at an even greater rate than has ever before occurred?

 I know that you gun control supporters are reading this, waiting for me to make a specious argument like, "Gun control causes crime - see?!"   But, I would never say that, because obviously there's no relationship between these laws and whether citizens are being gunned down in the streets.   And that's precisely my point. There's no relationship between gun laws and the preponderance of murder in our Baltimore communities.  The suburban gun control Moms have gone back to their McMansions.  The lawmakers who proposed the absolute necessity of more gun control in 2013 (themselves holders of concealed carry permits) have gone away, having won a battle on the state stage that the Brady Campaign and the Bloomberg fund would be proud of (and send more money please!).  The clergy who insisted that finally this law would sweep onto the landscape and save the vulnerable youth from the impossible claws of the poverty-violence-addiction cycle...they've gone back to the pulpit to talk about something else.

If you own a home in a bad area of Baltimore, gun control proponents believe they've done you a favor by making it nearly impossible to legally defend yourself, your family, or your property.   Meanwhile, illegal guns are imported daily into Baltimore - not from "states with weak gun control", as gun control fanatics believe - but from the former Soviet republics.  From China.  From Africa.   They are poor quality weapons for sure.  But they are cheap and readily available, without all the hassles of background checks and waiting periods.

Be careful out there - it's a tough town, even though its people have a big heart.  But those fancy gun laws won't be there to help you when the bad guys show up.   While Baltimore has more police officers than any major city in the USA, I'm sorry, they won't get to you in time.  The ongoing murder sprees and the lengthy list of gun laws being broken hundreds of times per day in Baltimore demonstrate that much. 

9 comments:

BrookField Angler said...

Welcome to Chicago V2. That's my beef with the Chicago/Cook county democrats who essentially run/dictate everything that this entire STATE does even though it's only a small (geographically speaking) part of Illinois.

The fact of the matter is that gun laws are only effective on people who aren't criminals. Period.

Criminals could care less about what gun laws are passed. They'll continue to get them somehow. Unless every single gun in the world is confiscated, guns will continue to fall into the hands of criminals.

Any person who thinks I'm wrong is out of their mind.

Anonymous said...

So what's your point? Will repealing the laws you described lead to a decrease in gun crimes?

Anonymous said...

It's becoming more and more apparent that there is no significant connection between gun laws and gun crimes. The poverty-violence-addiction cycle can be greatly dampened only through education initiatives. This has been shown to be true not just in Western European cultures, but in third World environments as well. Many of our cities, perhaps including Baltimore, now find themselves in dire need of such initiatives which have the potential to cripple each leg of that insidious cycle.

Forget the lame laws...educate the citizens.

Anonymous said...

..and perhaps you forgot to mention this little fact: "City's 7 march Homicides Lowest for a Month since 1983" (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-murder-low-20140401,0,3025062.story) ...

frankly, i'm glad it's illegal to brandish or discharge a weapon in the city or shoot someone in the back ... these are reasonable, common sense laws.

Kirk River Mud said...

Oh, you mean the March when it was 11 degrees and snowed 3 feet? I wonder why there were fewer murders?

Statistics like that have no bearing on reality - much as stating that aggressive gun laws "will save lives" have bearing on reality - it's been statistically shown that in this country, they do NOT.

In your furor against my position, you've neglected to note what I wrote - I don't oppose good gun laws. Murder should be illegal. Shooting a fleeing intruder who has injured no one should be illegal (at least a chargeable misdemeanor). Background checks should be expanded. Where the very few "loopholes" exist around background checks, those should be eliminated.

But you see, none of those have stemmed the bloodshed in American streets. Cities like Chicago and DC have had explicit "gun bans" in place, with no results ever achieved.

At some point, we have to learn how to take care of each other in a way that reduces violence before it happens. Limiting magazines to 10 bullets ain't going to do it - and the lawmakers passing those bills already know that.

Kirk River Mud said...

To the prior Anon - will repealing our new gun laws reduce crime?

No, I don't think so, statistically (fervent 2nd Amendment advocates would argue that it would). But their repeal will increase personal rights, in fact, rights guaranteed by the US Constitution (No, I don't think the 2nd amendment gives us the right to have tanks and RPGs).

These gun laws are known to have no impact on crime. Why increase police power (especially in areas where the police force is run by drug gangs), why increase taxpayer costs, why limit personal liberties if no gain in public safety is obtained?

It doesn't make sense. Taking care of children makes sense. Keeping better track of parolees BEFORE they drift back into crime makes sense. Understanding and treating mental illness with more than just drugs makes sense.

A gun is a symptom of all the things that aren't working. Worse yet, with 100,000,000 documented guns in the USA and an estimated 3-5 million more undocumented, this symptom won't go away.

Kirk River Mud said...

By the way, Anon, poor timing on your "Well we had only 6 murders in March!" Funny thing - 1 more died on the night of March 31st and FOUR MURDERS happened in the first six hours of April, 2014.

Yaaaaaaaay.

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