Baltimore law enforcement officials have vowed to target “bad guys with guns,” but what about the guns themselves?
Following the slaughter of 28 women and small children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, public officials from the President of the United States on down to local city councilmen are being pressed to get beyond generalities and articulate their stance on specific measures to limit access to guns.
“If this moment passes into memory without action from Washington, it will be a stain upon our nation of protecting the innocent, including our children,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference today, joined by 34 people who have been affected by gun violence.
Media voices are growing louder on the issue as well, with less a tone of jaded resignation about American gun politics and more of a howl of indignation that anyone ever bowed to them.
“What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.?” the New York Times’ Nicholas D. Kristof wrote in “Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?”
In the interest of following the comments and positions of local officials as they perhaps “evolve” in the coming days, here’s a link to a statement made today by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
He talked about how his thinking has changed starting with the shooting of one student by another at Perry Hall High School on the first day of school in September and the subsequent incident in which a student brought a gun to Stemmers Run in the second week of school.
“I tended to blame the family members who allowed disturbed children to have access to weapons. And I tend to partially blame the Newtown tragedy on the killer’s mother for allowing him access to weapons,” Kamenetz wrote.
“But then I realized, why does any person need access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines?” he continued. “These are weapons of war, not for personal use.” He called on state and federal officials to:
• Stop allowing exceptions to national background checks.
• Stop the sale of military-grade assault weapons that can out-gun our police officers.
• Stop the sale of high capacity magazines of more than ten rounds.
We’ll be interested to see how specific other state, city and county officials get as they address the topic in the coming days.
Speaking today at dedication ceremonies for the the AmeriCorps Atlantic Region Campus, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she has pushed for stronger gun control measures but run into lack of support in Annapolis.
“I’ve tried,” she said. “I’ve advocated for stronger gun laws in Annapolis for years — and had extreme difficulty getting some members of the legislature to understand why it was so important to have strong gun laws.”
Here’s the text of a 2010 speech where she discussed her proposed tougher penalties for illegal gun possession.