National gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb took a hard swing today at the Obama White House for Tuesdays’ widely reported suggestion that stricter gun regulation might be necessary to stem the violence that claimed nine lives last weekend in Baltimore, and more victims this morning.
“Obviously there’s some common sense things we could do – certainly passage of some gun safety laws in Congress that could keep guns out of the hands of criminals would be one thing that we could do to try to limit the violence,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest reportedly stated, according to Townhall.com.
According to WJZ, the local CBS affiliate, today’s double-murder gave the city its 37th and 38th homicides so far this month, and there is still one more weekend to go. Reports are surfacing that the city’s law enforcement is virtually paralyzed in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray riot and subsequent indictment of several Baltimore police officers.
Last night on Fox News’ popular Sean Hannity program, Wicomico County, Maryland Sheriff Mike Lewis had some brutal remarks about what has happened. His comments were transcribed in a Breitbart.com report, in which he asserted that Baltimore street cops “have been eviscerated, they’ve been disemboweled, their guts removed to have the courage to go out there and do this job.” That report included the video segment with the sheriff’s remarks.
“They’re very fearful that if they go out there and be proactive,” Sheriff Lewis continued, “which we all should be doing in law enforcement today, we can’t afford to be reactive, especially in urban areas. Those officers are no longer being proactive, and as you see, the violence has surged. We’ve had 36 homicides in the last 27 days in Baltimore city. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, took off the gloves this afternoon over the White House gun control suggestion. He called it “simply ludicrous.”
“The White House is a nut house if anyone in this administration seriously believes that more gun laws will reduce urban violence in Baltimore or anywhere else,” Gottlieb bristled. “Maryland already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and yet Baltimore was a free fire zone over the weekend, and part of that can be attributed to police paralysis over recent unrest that has had a chilling effect on law enforcement that had been told to ‘stand down’ recently while a riot erupted.”
“In Maryland,” he noted, “it is nearly impossible for average law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for self-protection. Last weekend’s mayhem was the handiwork of dangerously irresponsible people using guns illegally when police officers have been made afraid to respond forcefully, and for a White House spokesman to suggest that more gun laws would be one solution isn’t common sense, it’s nonsense.”
WJZ reported that arrests since the Freddie Gray incident, in which he died in police custody, have “dropped sharply.” Gray’s death sparked protests and riots. The station also reported that police were “not fully prepared” for the violence they encountered April 27.
“Right now,” Gottlieb said, “Baltimore has bigger problems that won’t be solved by trampling gun rights.”
There is no small amount of irony in emerging stories out of the city. According to one WJZ report, “West Baltimore residents worry they’ve been abandoned by the officers they once accused of harassing them.” It’s a text book example of the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” principle.
The report quoted one resident, identified as Donnail “Dreads” Lee, who offered an interesting observation: “People feel as though they can do things and get away with it. I see people walking with guns almost every single day, because they know the police aren’t pulling them up like they used to.”
And this is in a city, and in a state, where – as Gottlieb pointed out – it is rare for a law-abiding citizen to get a carry permit. Maryland’s restrictive discretionary permit process has left most citizens disarmed outside of their homes. As the saying goes, “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
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