Martin O’Malley Offers Gun Control Plan
By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
October 6, 2015
On Sunday night Presidential candidate and Irish America Hall of Fame inductee Martin O’Malley laid out a challenge to Democratic challengers Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to join his gun safety plan.
Speaking to the Strafford County Democrats in New Hampshire in light of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon last week, O’Malley posed four provisions designed to cut gun deaths in half over the next ten years.
“What I really want to talk with you about tonight is the sickness in our country of gun violence. The sickness in our country that would have us bury thousands and thousands of Americans who needlessly die violent deaths and other deaths as a result of our obsession, our sickness, that is the unchecked proliferation of guns in our society,” he began.
“We can’t say that, ‘this is just how it is.’ There is not another developed nation on the plant that has this problem. There is not another advanced nation on this planted that puts as many of its sons and daughters in coffins from dying violent deaths from guns.”
Following the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, O’Malley, as Governor of Maryland, passed one of the country’s strongest gun safety laws and used that experience to argue that presidential candidates must address the issue of gun safety in the U.S. So far this year, there have been 294 mass shootings in the U.S. More than an average of one per day.
His for provisions are:
1) A ban on the sale of combat assault weapons.
2) A requirement that every person who purchases a gun gets a license and is fingerprinted.
3) Using the full power of the federal government—the largest purchaser of firearms in the country—to refuse to buy guns from any company that doesn’t use the latest and best safety technology.
4) Making gun trafficking a federal crime.
Here’s the full transcript of the speech, with audio below:
This week we saw another slaughter of the innocent. Nine people struck down in a senseless act of gun violence. And yes we heard the outpouring of thoughts. And we heard the out pouring of prayers. And the same promises from a lot of our elected officials that this time it will be different. But no specific prescriptions for how we will fight this sickness. President Obama pointed out that approximately 3,500 have died because of terror attacks – American civilians because of terrorists attacks from 9/11 forward. But over 406,000 have died because of guns here in the United States in America.
I have been to a lot of funerals. When I was elected in 1999 as Mayor of Baltimore it was not because Baltimore was doing well. It was because we had allowed to become far too commonplace drive-by shootings where 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 people seemed to get shot down, had their life taken from them on a weekly basis. We had to forge a new consensus to turn that around. Not a single day was easy. Especially across the divisions of race, and class, and place, that we have seen so painfully intertwined around the issues of violent crime and public safety. But we did it. And we did it by reminding one another the powerful beliefs we share. A belief in the dignity of every person. A belief in our own responsibility to advance the common good we share. And an understanding that we’re all in this together. All of those beliefs are far more powerful than any lobbying effort the NRA can possibly send to a state capitol or to the United States Congress.
And I’ve had some experience with this issue. In Maryland, we took action after the senseless murder of the 20 children in Newtown Connecticut. My friend Daniel Malloy told all of us, as the nations governors how he had to walk into a room where all the parents had been separated out from the other parents and waited for the governor to tell them why it was that they were in that room and not another.
My friend, Daniel Malloy, told all of us, as the nation’s governors, how he had to walk into a room where all the parents had been separated out from the other parents. And waited for the Governor to tell them why it was that they were in that room and not another room.
We had huge crowds descend on Annapolis. Practically closed down the hallways. There were many people that said the mountain was too high. We had to take on people in our own party who had some cultural affinities with North Carolina that were closer than their affinities with North Baltimore.
But we did it. We never gave up. We had our own rally. And we talked about the goodness of our people, the compassion of our people and the senseless senselessness of the slaughter. And we passed our legislation. And in so doing, not only did we pass legislation that had comprehensive background checks and fingerprints. Not only did we ban combat assault weapon sales in our state. Not only did we ban the sale of more than 10 magazines, well we did something else.
We banded together. We drove consensus. And so when the NRA polled afterwards in a cynical attempt to try to drive that legislation to popular referendum, which is easy to do in our state, they found the vast majority of Marylanders also now after their legislature debated the issue, their representatives talked about the issue and passed it. They found that they could not undo it at referendum.
None of that was easy. We need to apply the same persistence today as a nation. And that is why, among the 15 strategic goals that I’ve set for our country to rebuild the American Dream, one of those goals is to cut gun violence in half in the next 10 years in the United States.
And I have put out a specific roadmap for how we get there. And among those things, number one, a ban on the sale of combat assault weapons. Two, a requirement that every person who purchases a gun gets a license and is fingerprinted so that law enforcement will be able to quickly trace any gun used in a crime back to its source. Three, using the full power of the federal government — did you know the largest purchaser of firearms in our nation is our own government? And our own government needs to refuse to buy guns from any company that doesn’t use the latest and best safety technology, like micro-stamping and internal serial numbers that cannot be defaced. Four, we need to make illegal gun trafficking a federal crime.
And now this is where it comes to you. This is where it comes to you. I know that not everyone in this room has made a decision about what candidate you will support. But I also know this is New Hampshire and that some of you have.
So I’m asking supporters of Senator Sanders to please urge Senator Sanders to back these four commonsense provisions that I just laid out to reduce gun violence.
And I am asking the supporters of Secretary Clinton to please urge Secretary Clinton to back the specific provisions that I just laid out.
And I’m asking both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton, Governor Chafee, all of those in our race, to join me in building a new consensus. ♦