CNN Lets O'Malley Brag on Maryland Gun Control, No Mention Murder Increased

February 26th, 2018 9:49 PM

Over the past couple of years, there's been a recurring case of "Connecticut-itis" as CNN has repeatedly promoted the state as a "model" of what the rest of the country should do in terms of enacting gun control, citing a so far short-term drop in overall violence -- which was already dropping anyway -- as alleged proof that gun laws passed in 2013 have been successful.

Notwithstanding that homicide numbers in 2017 were on the increase in Connecticut, CNN has tried to put all their eggs in the Connecticut basket without looking at violent crime numbers in other states that might point in the opposite direction. Over the weekend, former Maryland Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley was given a forum to brag about gun control he enacted in his state, but no one bothered to mention that homicide in Maryland has increased substantially since 2012.

At 3:44 p.m. ET on Sunday's CNN Newsroom, host Fredricka Whitfield posed:

So your state, Maryland, took big steps after Sandy Hook, and is a state that's now considered to have strict gun laws. And among those things, banning sales or transfer of assault weapons, including AR-15, banning the manufacture of detachable magazines. Is it your feeling that it will be up to states to take the lead as it pertains to making changes with gun control?

O'Malley began by talking up the possibility of state legislatures enacting stricter gun laws instead of Congress:

I sure do. Look, there's -- in our own state, we passed a gun safety measure. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and it was affirmed by the Supreme Court, and I think that's what you're going to see happening right now.

He soon added that states are "leading when it comes to gun safety."

After Whitfield brought up opposition from the NRA, the former Maryland governor recalled the political fight in his state:

They organized big time here in Maryland when I put in gun safety legislation. They filled the halls of Annapolis, but we also filled the halls of Annapolis with people that wanted common sense gun legislation, better protections, you know, school perimeter security, better and tighter sharing of information when it comes to mental health and prohibitions on people buying weapons, and also licensing for the purchase of all new weapons.

He soon added: "You know, this isn't about feeling, it's about fact. And the fact, Fredricka, is that states that make it tougher to buy combat assault weapons have fewer gun deaths."

But the CNN host did not even bother to ask him whether crime statistics from the past several years in Maryland actually point to a reduction in crime. It turns out that, adjusted for population, Baltimore in 2017 experienced an all-time high in its homicide rate. Additionally, statewide homicide totals have increased substantially since 2012, and overall violent crime levels have stayed about even.

Now, it may be the case that other factors are primarily responsible for Maryland's murder increase -- like excessive police restraint in reaction to Freddie Gray's death in police custody. But it may also be the case that changes in policing led to short-term crime reductions in Connecticut more so than changes in the law. It's difficult to gauge long-term effects over a short time.

But CNN has been eager to cherry pick relatively encouraging Connecticut statistics while ignoring other states or cities with substantially worse crime numbers.