The House of Representatives once again put single-interest lobbyists before the people. A public already in favor of federal laws limiting access to assault weapons and other non-sporting, non-self-defense firearms was shocked into outrage by the mass murder in Killeen, Texas, this week. Yet the very next day, the House killed a proposal to ban certain (but not all) such weapons and a ban on large-capacity ammo clips that make mass murder such as in Killeen possible.
The National Rifle Association and other opponents of gun laws are not that powerful anymore, yet the House caved in to their pressure tactics. Recently in Congress, the NRA & Co. couldn't stop the Brady bill (a waiting period before purchasing certain firearms) in the House and they couldn't stop an assault-weapons ban (and handgun controls similar to Brady) in the Senate. A few years ago in Maryland, they couldn't stop a bill banning Saturday Night Specials and then lost a referendum by a landslide. In Baltimore City this year, they couldn't stop an ordinance requiring safeguards (cabinet or trigger locks) to keep loaded firearms out of the hands of minors.
Four Maryland representative showed profiles in cowardice during Thursday's House vote: Reps. Helen Bentley, Beverly Byron, Tom McMillen and Wayne Gilchrest. Mr. Gilchrest reneged on a previous statement, and Mr. McMillen has certainly implied in the past that he was for sensible gun control. These two men may have to compete for NRA contributions and support in a race against each other next year. Perhaps that explains it.