Any logical system of background checks for gun purchases would have stopped the Capital Gazette Newspaper killer, Jarrod Ramos. He had been fired from his job as a government contract employee and had conducted social media crusades against the criminal justice system, his local newspaper the Gazette, and a mental health counseling facility. He was a convicted woman harasser. He “friended” an old classmate on Facebook, telling her to go “kill herself” (NYT6/30) and then harassed her attorney. He was sentence to 18 months of supervised probation.
Even though Maryland has some of the strictest gun safety laws in the nation, Ramos passed a background check. In addition, shotguns and rifles are not on a list of “regulated firearms” under state law. In October, Maryland will be one of 11 states that authorize “extreme risk protection orders,” also known as ERPO or Red Flag, but only certain people can file a petition.
Maryland Democratic legislators immediately vowed to tighten existing laws to address this mass shooting. Meanwhile, our Republican-led Congress remains compliantly silent as the carnage continues. As we know, the easy accessibility of any type of deadly weapons sets us apart from the rest of the world. We need a national solution and will only get one when we change the makeup of Congress. See our list of candidates who have been endorsed by major gun reform advocacy groups here.
–Elizabeth Spiro Clark, Chair, Committee on Public Policy and Political Action
–Shelly Livingston, Chair, Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence