As the former mayor of Baltimore—where anti-police protests this spring exploded into riots, looting, arson and days of lawless chaos—Martin O’Malley said, “We are taking our streets and neighborhoods back from violent crime.”
And as the former governor of Maryland—where in 2013 he imposed the most draconian new gun bans anywhere in the country—O’Malley now says, “What we did in Maryland should be the first step of what we do as a nation.” To be sure, O’Malley could correctly be called “Mr. Gun Control.”
“Martin O’Malley has presided over some of the most spectacular, bloody and brutal failures of ‘gun control’ in our nation’s history,” said NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre. “Yet despite the catastrophic consequences of those policies for innocent people, he wants to impose those same policies nationwide as president of the United States.”
“If O’Malley wins the Democratic presidential nomination, or if Hillary Clinton chooses him as her running mate, Americans could face a fight for the survival of Second Amendment freedom as we know it,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.
Indeed, soon after O’Malley kicked off his presidential bid this summer, his campaign announced that gun bans would be a centerpiece of his platform.
O’Malley To Make Gun Bans A Centerpiece Of Campaign
“Governor O’Malley was fearless in taking on gun control in Maryland, standing up even to members of his own party to get results,” campaign spokeswoman Haley Morris recently told BusinessInsider.com. “This is an issue you will be hearing more about from him.”
That prediction proved true. Less than 48 hours after the vicious murders of innocent citizens in Charleston, S.C., in June, O’Malley sent an email to supporters proclaiming his anger—in a decidedly un-presidential manner—that politicians don’t pass more anti-gun laws to criminalize behavior that’s already illegal in every way imaginable.
“I’m pissed” O’Malley wrote, “that after an unthinkable tragedy like the one in South Carolina yesterday, instead of jumping to act, we sit back and wait for the appropriate moment to say what we’re all thinking: that this is not the America we want to be living in. ... How many senseless acts of violence in our streets or tragedies in our communities will it take to get our nation to stop caving to special interests like the NRA when people are dying?”
Concluding his email, O’Malley called on supporters to join him in pushing for several new national anti-gun laws, including “a national assault weapons ban”—even though no rifle (semi-automatic or otherwise) was used in the Charleston murders.
“In other words, O’Malley was just capitalizing on tragedy to push his gun-ban agenda,” LaPierre said. O’Malley was “the stake through the heart of police procedure in Baltimore. He destroyed police work in some real respects.”
Legacy Of Failure In “Charm City”
O’Malley has tried to proclaim victory over crime in Maryland, but his years as Baltimore’s mayor and as Maryland’s governor represent one long and largely uninterrupted period of tragedy and victimization.
To be sure, even before O’Malley came on the scene, Maryland in general—and Baltimore in particular—were poster children cities for the failure of lax crime policies and gun bans that leave honest people defenseless. So it’s no surprise that many Maryland cities like Baltimore historically lead the nation in armed robbery and other violent crimes.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore was the most violent city in the United States in 2000. Ten years later, it still ranked third. And despite what some have called “paper reductions” in some categories of crime, as the Sun pointed out, “The number of killings in Baltimore increased during O’Malley’s tenure as mayor, from 261 in 2000 to 276 in 2006.”
A decade ago, HBO aired a popular police-crime series called “The Wire,” which dramatized the efforts of Baltimore police to quell the violent crime and drug trade that plagued the gritty port city. The creator of that cable TV drama was David Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, who based much of his series on actual events in the city.
Simon said that as mayor, O’Malley was “the stake through the heart of police procedure in Baltimore. He destroyed police work in some real respects. Whatever was left of it when he took over the police department, if there were two bricks together that were the suggestion of an edifice that you could have called meaningful police work, he found a way to pull them apart.”
Letting Criminals Off The Hook In “The Free State”
As governor of Maryland, O’Malley doubled down on some of the same failed crime policies that he had instituted in Baltimore.
He closed the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup, a prison so notorious that generations of criminals lived in fear of being locked up in “The Cut.” Moreover, in 2013, a ruling by the Maryland Supreme Court resulted in convicted murderers being released from one end of “The Free State” to the other, including more than a dozen killers in Baltimore alone.
Nonetheless, Gov. O’Malley boasted in a State of the State Address that the Maryland prison population had fallen to the lowest point in decades under his leadership.
In 2013, after years of administrative inaction on the death penalty, O’Malley signed a law ending capital punishment in Maryland. In a poll that same year, the Washington Post found that most Maryland residents supported the death penalty—yet O’Malley did away with it with a stroke of his pen.
O’Malley calls capital punishment “unjust” and “ineffective” and says the appeals process is “cruel.” It wasn’t as if Maryland was using the death penalty impulsively or overzealously—the state had only ordered five executions in the previous 38 years.
And although the Maryland law ending capital punishment did not cover inmates already sentenced to death, as one of his last official acts as governor, O’Malley commuted the sentences of the last four killers remaining on Maryland’s death row, including two men convicted of the 1983 contract murder of two federal drug trial witnesses; a man convicted of killing an elderly neighbor couple in 1995; and a man convicted of robbing and shooting a theater manager in 1997.
Yet while O’Malley was quick to offer hope and change to convicted killers and criminals, he also did his best to take away the last, best hope of innocent, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from those criminals—their Second Amendment-protected ability to defend themselves. ... as the Sun pointed out, “The number of killings in Baltimore increased during O’Malley’s tenure as mayor, from 261 in 2000 to 276 in 2006.”
O’Malley’s Gun Ban: The Worst In The Nation
On Jan. 18, 2013, on his 50th birthday, surrounded by police chiefs from across Maryland, O’Malley announced what he plainly hoped would become his signature achievement as Maryland’s governor—a wide-ranging anti-gun law imposing everything from outright bans, to gun registration, to a ban on anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing or owning registered firearms or ammunition.
It was just a month after the unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook. And much in the spirit of Rahm Emanuel’s advice to “never let a serious crisis go to waste,” O’Malley used the horror, sorrow and outrage over that tragedy to push through the most onerous and wide-ranging gun bans of any state in the nation.
Maryland residents by the thousands lobbied their representatives to oppose the legislation. But less than four months later, O’Malley signed a law that, among other things:
Banned most semi-automatic rifles, both by name and by characteristics;
Required future purchasers of handguns to provide fingerprints, undergo training and obtain a license first;
Imposed arbitrary deadlines for the mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms; and
Banned the sale, manufacture, purchase or transfer of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
The law took effect Oct. 1, 2013, and violations carry a penalty of up to three years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.
Yet while the law transformed many otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals, it did nothing to prevent dangerous people from committing evil acts, or to protect innocent people from those criminals—in fact, several amendments to the legislation that would have done just that were rejected.
With full support from the NRA, a coalition of groups and individuals filed suit in federal court to block the new law, but in August 2014, a federal judge upheld it. That case has now gone to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and 21 state attorneys general are supporting efforts to overturn the law.
Yet for all of O’Malley’s promises and justifications for the law, nearly two years later, it is clear his gun ban hasn’t stopped a single criminal, prevented a single murder, protected a single victim, or made anyone in Maryland safer.
All you need to do is look at the murders, mayhem, lawlessness and chaos that define life in Baltimore today. While chaos reigns there, all O’Malley wants to do is play political games to put himself in the headlines.
Will Second Amendment Freedom Survive The 2016 Elections?
In June, speaking to the United States Conference of Mayors’ annual gathering in San Francisco—where the current mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, was sworn in as president of the organization—O’Malley said, “One of the sad triumphs of white racism is the degree to which it has succeeded in subconsciously convincing so many of us, black and white, that somehow black lives don’t matter.”
In truth, the lives that apparently don’t matter to O’Malley are those of law-abiding citizens—no matter what their background.
“If Martin O’Malley truly cared about saving innocent lives, he’d address the causes of violent crime in cities like Baltimore—instead of trying to leave innocent people defenseless against those violent criminals,” LaPierre said.
NRA-ILA’s Cox agreed, and added a warning: “When the top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination include gun-ban zealots like Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley, our rights are clearly in grave danger.”
“That’s why it’s so important for every gun owner in America to get informed and get involved as a member of the National Rifle Association of America,” LaPierre added. “If we’re to keep our God-given freedoms, and the safety of our families that those freedoms guarantee, we need to stand and be counted on Election Day next year.”