The former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley announced his presidential candidacy for the Democratic nomination on May 30. He is also a former mayor of the city of Baltimore. Here below is summary of his positions and record on firearms:
As governor, O’Malley significantly increased gun control in Maryland. He advocated and signed into law the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, which banned dozens of assault weapons, placed a limit on the size of gun magazines to ten rounds, and introduced a requirement for special training and fingerprinting of the purchasers of handguns. He has been an outspoken critic of the National Rifle Association. A 2010 Christian Coalition survey summarized O’Malley’s stance on guns, saying that he supports, "Further restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms."
In 2000, in the midst of his mayoralty, O’Malley issued a manifesto entitled “A New Agenda for the New Decade,” in which he stated his goals on crime prevention and firearms. In it, O’Malley declared that he sought to “enforce and strengthen laws against unsafe or illegal guns. Moreover, we need a renewed commitment to equal justice for all, and we must reject a false choice between justice and safety.” As an advocate for the use of technology in enforcement, O’Malley said wanted to use technology to make it “possible to disable and/or trace guns used by unauthorized persons.”
In the wake of the deadly shootings in 2012 in Newton CT by crazed gunman Adam Lanza, as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, O’Malley contrasted his approach to guns with the response from Republicans. He said, “I think we have too many guns, and I think we have too much killing,” while adding that he and fellow Democrats were conferring on “what more can we do.”
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“I think there’s been a change of heart and a greater open-mindedness in the wake of the murder of the innocent in Connecticut for people to take a look at especially assault weapons,” said O’Malley. As an advocate of reinstating a national ban on assault rifles, he said “You look at some of these guns, and it’s just hard to conclude that these guns should be in the hands of anyone who isn’t a soldier on a battlefield or a law enforcement officer sent into a tactical situation.”
In 2013, former Maryland State Trooper Jack McCauley said that political pressure pushed him out of the force because of his criticisms of O’Malley’s signature gun legislation. McCauley told Fox News that he was told that the reason for signing the law was "It is just votes." The retired trooper said, "My goal is to educate the public, because the mainstream media and the governor's office are intentionally lying to people." The law has yet to be overturned by O’Malley’s Republican successor, Gov. Larry Hogan.
In March 2012, according to a federal affidavit entered by McCauley, the former trooper was told by the O’Malley administration to not answer questions asked by Maryland state lawmakers about the law’s effectiveness in reducing crime. When McCauley was asked during a Maryland House Judiciary subcommittee hearing whether the ban would affect crime, he was commanded by O’Malley’s Legislative Officer, Shanetta Paskel, not to answer the question posed to him by a delegate. McCauley said that if he had been allowed to answer, he would have said that the banned firearms in questions are almost never used in the commission of crimes in Maryland. According to McCauley, less than 5 percent of crimes involve the banned, while he also said that strengthened mental health protections have a greater effect on preventing mass shootings than the gun ban. His affidavit stated, "Immediately following the end of the meeting ... Ms. Paskel explained why she ordered me not to answer, saying that the act was 'not about policy; it is just [about] votes.' "
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