Students Question Proposed Gun Control Bill

admin-ajaxLegislators in Maryland are still deliberating over bills that would implement stricter background checks, demand purchasers to have a license before buying a firearm, restrict magazine rounds and ban assault weapons, among other amendments.

A federal appeals court on March 21 maintained a key provision of Maryland’s gun-control laws, supporting the state’s tough restrictions on carrying handguns in public places.

As hundreds have gathered in Annapolis to rally for and against the statute within the past weeks, the majority of Morgan students remain on the fence about its effectiveness.

President David Wilson took a stand on the issue and spoke at a rally on March 1. In a memorandum sent out to the University relaying a few of his remarks, Wilson said “I am President of an urban, open campus located in a city with one of the highest crime rates in the country, and, therefore, I know that guns, especially those illegally acquired, from handguns to assault weapons, are our enemy.” In support of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal, Wilson also urged those in attendance “to be vigilant and resolute in getting those guns off the streets in Baltimore, the state of Maryland and across America.”

A poll conducted between March 3-7 by Goucher College, involving 791 Maryland residents via landline phones and cell phones, found that 83 percent support requiring a license for handgun buyers.

In Baltimore, 46 shooting homicides have taken place this year. One of the murders took place three blocks from the Morgan campus, just off Loch Raven Boulevard and Stonewood Road. Though they did not result in deaths, two shootings took place on Morgan’s campus this fall.

“The government has to be stricter on who they give guns to. We need better gun laws,” said Morgan graduate student Jeremiah Chakwuka. Considering the issues of crime and safety on campus and within the community, some Morgan students were in agreement with President Wilson. Yet, Chakwuka still wants “to have at least one gun for protection. My job as a man is to protect my family.”

Heading into the final weeks of Maryland’s General Assembly session, O’Malley’s gun control bill is stalled in the House of Delegates due to a dispute over which guns should be included in an assault weapons ban.

Morgan sophomore Neil Ezel believes that “it’s kind of a catch 22. Some people feel like you should have the right to own guns and it does say that in the Constitution.” Although the bill would make Maryland the state with the strictest gun laws in the nation, “at the same time, the shooting last year at the elementary school doesn’t really help that cause.”

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