Along with other spates of gun violence around the country, a relatively recent incident involving a Maryland man who threatened to kill his boss has some residents examining gun laws in the Free State.
In August, shortly after James E. Holmes shot up a movie theater in Aurora, CO, that was screening the latest Batman film, a 28-year-old man by the name of Neil Prescott was arrested for telling a co-worker that “I’m a joker and I’m gonna load my guns and blow everybody up.”
When police investigated Prescott’s apartment in Crofton, they found approximately two-dozen firearms along with thousands of rounds of ammunition.
At the time, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks lamented that Prescott could only be charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony for communicating a general threat over the telephone.
“I believe that when people like Mr. Prescott threaten violence, especially in this day and age with all that we have going on right now, he ought to be facing felony charges – not just misdemeanor charges,” Alsobrooks told CBS back in August.
According to authorities, all of the firearms in Prescott’s possession were legally purchased within a four-month period. While Maryland limits gun purchases to one per month, an individual with no criminal history can obtain what’s called a ‘collector’s permit’ and buy unlimited quantities of firearms.
Prescott had a collector’s permit. And due to his dubious mental health status (it’s unclear how much was a matter of public record or known to the NICS), some, like Alsobrooks, wonder if more can be done to prevent the wrong people from obtaining firearms.
“We have a fresh opportunity to look at it and make sure that we do not have a Colorado occur here,” Alsobrooks told the local CBS News affiliate in Baltimore in a recent interview.
“This is the time to look at it, not after something has happened that is God-awful.”
While Alsobrooks is in favor of tougher gun laws, she didn’t really explain what specific pieces of legislation she supports nor did she discuss the overall efficacy of such measures at stopping criminals or the mentally ill from obtaining firearms.
“I think there are always opportunities to strengthen what we have but I can tell you that I’m concerned about it,” Alsobrooks said. “We’ve seen it play itself out.”
As noted in the video, Maryland already has some of the country’s toughest gun laws, it’s a ‘May-Issue’ state, one needs to provide a “good and substantial reason to carry a concealed firearm” and it’s one of three states that limit the purchase of firearms to one per month unless one has, as mentioned, a collector’s permit.
Though, as most gun owners understand, there are limits to what can be done to stop the wrong people from abusing freedom.
“We live in a free society. This is America,” Daniel Statkus, a gun collector and NRA instructor, told WJZ.
“Anything can be abused,” he said. “People have different reasons for doing the things they do. You can’t regulate that. You can’t stop it.”
Indeed. What’s also fascinating is the obsession gun control advocates have with the quantity of firearms one can own. Logically, it makes zero sense to regulate quantity. A killer only needs one gun to commit a mass shooting. Just one. Moreover, law or no law, if he is hell-bent on obtaining a firearm he will find a way to get one.
What usually stops crazy people from doing crazy things is not a law, but vigilant and concerned citizens. That’s really the best defense we have against those who wish to do harm to others. Although, concealed carry permit holders also present a formidable challenge to lunatics and would-be killers.
As for Prescott, he has been put on medication and was released in the custody of his parents (his firearms have been confiscated pending the results of further mental health evaluations).