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Your rights are in jeopardy. Currently, restrictions on gun ownership in Maryland are focused primarily on the so-called assault weapons and other regulated firearms such as handguns used for sport shooting, home defense and in very limited cases, concealed carry. Without your action, that will likely change very soon.

Our elected officials are actively writing new legislation which will not only apply to currently regulated firearms, but also expand the definition of assault weapon so that it may very well include that semi-automatic shotgun that you use for goose hunting, duck hunting, skeet shooting and other purposes. That semi-automatic slugger that you use for deer hunting will quickly become part of the family of scary, regulated firearms.

I know, the idea seems pretty far-fetched and probably has you saying to yourself, “No way, they’re only going to tighten restrictions on assault-type weapons.” Honestly, I hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

While I don’t want further restrictions or believe they will make a difference, indications are that these common semi-automatic firearms that we have used for decades will become part of the regulated family. Are you willing to take that chance?

I urge every single gun owner out there to contact their representatives. Call them, e-mail them, mail them a letter or visit the State House in Annapolis and voice your concern. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has already stated that he will sign any assault-weapons bill that comes to his desk and make no mistake; Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery) and others will introduce legislation that further restricts your ability to exercise your God-given, constitutionally protected right.

There is more than enough legislation on the books already and we certainly don’t need more. Passing more laws will only make legislators feel good about themselves in thinking that they have done something positive.

Are there changes that need to be made? Absolutely. We need to enforce the laws that are currently on the books and keep criminals behind bars. We need to focus on mental health and find ways to help those who need it. We need to contact our representatives and let them know how we feel and that we will be watching how they vote on this important issue.

Craig Buist, Callaway