Why the Capital Gazette Shooting Occurred in a Gun-Free Zone

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

The Capital Gazette shooting occurred in Maryland—and the state is essentially a gun-free zone.

The Capital Gazette shooting happened in Annapolis, Maryland, which is a “may issue” state. That means that the killer had good reason to expect his targets in their workplace to be unarmed. People don’t typically bring rifles to their workplace, and if they had, the shooter would have seen them and perhaps chosen not to open fire. The only real worry would have been concealed handguns. But those were unlikely.

The Daily Signal reports, “2 Reasons Why the Media Will Drop Coverage of the Capital Gazette Shooting.

On Thursday, four journalists and one staff member of the Capital Gazette were murdered in the newspaper’s Annapolis, Maryland, office.

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There is no evidence that any employees of the Capital Gazette would have chosen to carry a firearm to work for self-defense. But had they been inclined to protect themselves against a person they reasonably—and correctly—believed was more than capable of carrying out his threats, Maryland makes it nearly impossible for them to do so outside of their homes.

Maryland is a “may issue” state, meaning it does not presume that residents have a right to carry concealed firearms, and only issues permits to those who sufficiently prove they have a “good and substantial reason” to carry a firearm in public. This bar is rarely met, even by law-abiding citizens such as Robert Scherr, who served honorably in the National Guard and who felt at risk because of his work as a divorce lawyer.

Fewer than 0.4 percent of Maryland adults have an active concealed carry permit. In terms of total concealed carry permits issued, Maryland outranks only Washington, D.C. (which effectively did not issue concealed carry permits until 2017); Hawaii (the only state to not issue a single gun carry permit to a private citizen in 2016); New Jersey (which notoriously issues permits almost exclusively to former law enforcement officers); and Delaware and Alaska (both of which have fewer than one-sixth of Maryland’s population).

And even if a Maryland resident is one of the lucky few authorized to carry a gun in public, she is prohibited from doing so in a wide range of places.

The reality is that, for all of Maryland’s strict gun laws, it has only succeeded in making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves from criminals bent on destruction.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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