When the Washington Post runs a story that says "Gun rights advocates marshaled one of the biggest crowds to descend on Annapolis for a bill hearing in years", you know it was a big turnout. In other words, it was too big a crowd for even the anti-rights mainstream media to minimize.
While the question remains whether the Democrat-dominated legislature will listen to gun rights supporters or to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) who is trying to vie with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York on gun control, the report from Maryland Shall Issue (see below) on the event gives some measure of hope on the issue.
Yesterday Maryland Shall Issue, in concert with the NRA, the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, staged the largest "Gun Day" rally in the history of our state - official state estimates count 4,000 pro-rights supporters who converged at our statehouse for a morning rally and afternoon hearings in the Senate.Perhaps this testimony from Maryland-based gun maker Beretta as reported by the Washington Post might have some influence as well.
We literally shut the place down. Soon after the hearing, I got a call from the MD Capital Police. They told us the building was already at maximum capacity and that fire code meant no more entrants.
This was more than a rally. Our people all showed up to attend the hearing and to testify. Even after locking out our many members, there would be more than 1,000 people in line to testify. Just getting your name on the list of witnesses took six hours. Every person stood in line, eager to get their voices heard. Unfortunately, the chairman of the committee - Senator Brian Frosh - is a the largest Gun Control Advocate in the state. He decided to unilaterally cut off testimony after 4 hours from each side. Even when reduced, the Gun Controllers ran out witnesses. They had them on the list to testify, but after 5 PM many were no where to be found. They were mostly government employees - it looks like their interest in Gun Control ended when the paychecks ran out. The Chairman eventually reduced "testimony" to nothing more than your name and town. That's it. That was was his idea of how to let people petition their government. Our side went until they literally told us to leave. The last name was spoken at almost 10 PM.
We had an effect. Publicly many admit that licensing is dead; that registration is about to fail; and privately there is talk that even the AWB is at risk. They are splitting the Governor's bill into smaller bills, because as of today they big one would not pass either chamber.
We are not guaranteed a final win on everything. But this was supposed to be a cake walk for them, and the people of this state are going to make them work for it.
Maryland Shall Issue has been asked what we would compromise - whether we could "throw them a bone." We told them that we would not compromise a single right. They told us that means we could lose. Our membership is united: we would rather have all of our rights stolen from us, than to willingly give up even one.
Everyone keep us in their prayers. We are holding our line in this fight. Pray we hold it until the end.
Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for firearm manufacturer Beretta, which has a plant in Accokeek, warned lawmakers that O’Malley’s bill, which outlaws 45 types of weapons and their knockoffs, could have a severe impact on the company’s business. He also said that because gun manufacturers in Maryland are required to register as firearm dealers, it’s unclear whether the company would still be allowed to export guns for sale in other states.
“We’re confronted with a state government that wants to ban the products we make,” Reh said. “Not surprisingly, we are concerned.”