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As upset as I am about the gun ban proposal from Gov. Martin O’Malley, I felt that I had to do something. I sent a letter to Sen. Mac Middleton and Dels. Sally Jameson, Peter Murphy and C.T. Wilson. I received an immediate response from the senator the next day and one a week later from Del. Murphy. It is now time for everyone to stop the emails and phone calls and go visit these elected officials in person.

I found that a face-to-face is far more effective in the past then an email or phone call because, most of the time, the emails and calls are screened by office staff. Take a day and get out and knock on their doors and request to see your representative. Do it now before it is too late.

These bills will not do anything but cause great burdens on law-abiding citizens and our Second Amendment right. Criminals will not and do not do background checks, get mental check ups or register the weapons they use in a crime; they acquire them illegally.

For years, Maryland has had on the books restrictive laws that have affected those of us who purchase firearms legally, who are required to take an online safety course for handguns and do a background check that can take seven to 14 days or more before I can purchase the handgun. Also, restrictions on high-capacity magazines have been on the books for years in Maryland, allowing only 20-round magazines to be purchased in state and online.

Now, the governor wants to take that down to 10 rounds. This was done before during the federal gun ban, and it did not prevent criminals from committing crimes. As for the so-called assault weapons he wants to ban, where will it stop?

His description of an assault weapon is so broad that anything could be an assault weapon. I have found that any weapon used in a crime to assault a victim is an assault weapon, whether it be a gun, knife, stick or the criminal’s physical body.

Laws that we need for anyone who commits a violent crime are ones that should be so tough, that a criminal would be scared to even think about coming to Maryland. First-offense crimes should be 10 years automatic hard labor. No televisions, no gyms to work out in, no Internet, no social gatherings with inmates, no parole. When you commit a violent crime in Maryland, you lose any and all rights and privileges, period. Fear needs to be put back in the minds of criminals, not have them think, ‘Oh well, I go to jail, get three square meals, watch some TV, work out, then get out of jail and do it again.”

It seems to me that it has always been the easy way out to restrict those who do the right thing than those who don’t, and that is what these bills will do, restrict those who do the right thing.

Joe Swall, Waldorf