- On Air Program Guide
- A Blue View
- Brain Talk
- Cellar Notes
- Choral Arts Classics
- The Environment in Focus
- Gil Sandler’s Baltimore Stories
- Humanities Connection
- Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast
- Midday with Dan Rodricks
- The Morning Economic Report
- Radio Kitchen
- The Signal
- Take Five
- Your Maryland
- Public Commentary
- War of 1812 Stories
Fraser Smith's Essay: December 27, 2012
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
December 27, 2012
Despite frustration nationally with attempts to pass gun control bills, Maryland’s record shows that gun law reform is possible. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
The list of reforms, itself, is impressive, given the opposition to reform even in Maryland, a relatively progressive state on the issue.
In1988, the General Assembly passed a control bill dealing with Saturday Night Specials, cheap hand guns frequently used at the time in weekend holdups and domestic shootings. The law was sustained at referendum.
Governor William Donald Schaefer was dubious about supporting the bill and the referendum, but he did. It passed in a year when the Democratic candidate for President, Michael Dukakis, lost in Maryland.
In 1989 lawmakers instituted a waiting period for the purchase of assault rifles. A federal ban on those weapons followed.
In 1994 assault pistols and ammunition clips with more than 20 bullets were banned.
In 1996, the assembly limited handgun purchases to one a month and instituted a background check for individual sales.
The foregoing shows that laws that attempt to limit the damage caused by handguns are possible – if incremental.
As others have observed, real and dramatic changes in the gun culture will require just that, cultural change. That is not likely to occur even in the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
The law must be seen as an agent of cultural change. If one is prohibited by law from doing something dangerous by law, perhaps that something will not seem so important.
In any event, removing assault weapons from the public arsenal seems likely to be a long struggle. So many of them are on the street already.
Still, now has to be the hour for something more than incremental. If we fall short of that, don’t we remain vulnerable to more Sandy Hooks?
IN FOCUS TODAY
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 6:35am
WYPR's Fraser Smith and political consultant and columnist Laslo Boyd talk about how Baltimore...
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 4:44am
For Baltimore businesses, this is "Clean Your Files" day, part of the city's campaign to...
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 6:35am
WYPR's Fraser Smith and Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun talk about the Baltimore City...