A Baltimore Sun columnist wrote in a Thursday op-ed that citizens who legally own firearms are more frightening than the criminals who use the weapons on the rough streets of her hometown.
Tricia Bishop, deputy editorial page editor for the Baltimore paper, explained how billboards advertisements for guns and everyday Americans carrying them around made her sick.
“I’m less afraid of the criminals wielding guns in Baltimore… than I am by those permitted gun owners,” Bishop said.
She says this because she believes as a middle-class white woman, she’s shielded from her city’s criminal element but, in her opinion, she’s not protected from her neighbors’ legally-purchased weapons.
“I have the luxury of being white and middle class in a largely segregated city that reserves most of its shootings for poor, black neighborhoods overtaken by ‘the game,'” she wrote. “But I don’t know where the legal gun owners are or how to ensure that their children, no matter how well versed in respecting firearms, won’t one day introduce that weapon to my daughter.”
With this grave threat lying within her neighborhood, Bishop concludes President Obama’s recent executive order is not enough and she is entitled to have a gun registry list to protect her kids. She argues this needed in the same way the country has a sex offender registry list, which strongly implies legal firearm owners are as much a threat to children as pedophiles are.
“[H]ow about adding something immediately useful: a gun owner registry available to the public online — something like those for sex offenders. I’m not equating gun owners with predatory perverts, but the model is helpful here; I want a searchable database I can consult to find out whether my kid can have a play date at your house,” the columnist asserts.
Bishop admits she grew up around guns and her family members were well-trained in handling the weapons. However, proper training is not enough to win your child a play date with her daughter.
“My folks were taught how to handle guns and use them safely. But that doesn’t do much to allay my fears; it’s the simple presence of the weapon in the home and the possibilities it presents that terrify me,” she confesses.
Further on in the essay, Bishop mentions the infamous New York newspaper that published the home addresses of local gun owners in two counties right outside of New York City as a positive example of what her ideal database would look like and concludes her piece with an admonition towards those citizens who decide to own firearms. (RELATED: Map Of New York Gun Owners’ Addresses Was Inaccurate, Newspaper Admits)
“Gun owners may feel picked on, but they are not a persecuted class. They are individuals who have chosen to keep in their homes an object whose chief purpose is to injure or kill, whether in self defense or otherwise. The rest of us should have a right to know it’s there before we — or our children — enter.”
While Bishop may fear gun owners more than Baltimore’s local criminals, those same criminals set a grim record for the city last year as its murder rate soared to a new per capita high. By November, the city’s 2015 murder rate was 48.97 per 100,000 and many of the killings were committed with illegal guns.According to a CBS Baltimore report, Charm City is awash with thousands of non-legally owned firearms and police believe the development is responsible in part for the city’s skyrocketing homicide rate.