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Annapolis Update 4 – Our Constitutional Rights Violated

March 19, 2009
Rick Impallaria
Delegate, District 7

Our constitutional rights have truly taken a beating in the House of Delegates.  Hopefully as these bills cross over into the Senate they will be killed.  HB 302, Family Law – Temporary Protective Orders – Surrender of Firearms, and HB 296, Family Law – Protective Orders – Surrender of Firearms, are clearly gun confiscation bills.  For the first time they enable the government to sieze private gun collections without the accused ever having his or her day in court, or the opportunity to defend himself or herself against the accusations which have led to the stripping of their Second Amendment rights.

It is more important to our State government to put into law methods to confiscate guns than to take the time to first determine how to properly secure and protect the private property of gun owners and, most importantly, put in place a legal and reasonable method of reclaiming the confiscated property.  As I said, this has nothing to do with constitutional rights — they have no intention of ever returning firearms once they have been taken away — all without a person having their day in court.

A bill offered by Del. Luiz Simmons, HB 1181, Denial or Dismissal of Domestic Violence Petitions – Expungement of Records, would have established a process by which a person could get an ex parte order expunged from his or her record if the allegations were proven to be false, or if the plaintiff failed to appear in court.  Under our Constitution, this would be considered the presumption of innocence.  The bill would allow you to clear your record of false charges or allegations.  This would seem reasonable and just to anyone who believes in our American judicial system based on innocent until proven guilty.  Unfortunately, this is not the opinion of the majority in the Maryland General Assembly, and this bill failed.  It is the same pattern of thought as evidenced in the gun legislation.  By leaving false charges on your record, it gives the gun grabbers in authority one more excuse.

The final attack on the right of self-defense and gun rights was the rejection of a bill by Del. McKonkey, HB 359, Public Safety – Handgun Permits – Victims of Domestic Violence.  This bill would have required the State Police to act immediately to review the right-to-carry permit application in cases of domestic violence.  It seems reasonable to me that, if a court finds there is a credible threat of physical harm to a person, the person who is threatened should have the option of self-protection by means of a firearm, if he or she so chooses.  Since the State Police typically take weeks or months to process a RTC application, you can readily see the necessity of this legislation.  Remember that law enforcement does not normally prevent murders or physical attacks.  Their main purpose is to gather information and solve crimes after they occur.  (As someone said, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”)  This is of little comfort or satisfaction to the victim, however.

Rick Impallaria
Delegate, District 7
rick.impallaria@house.state.md.us
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