ANNAPOLIS, Maryland - August 29 - Sarah Brady of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and leaders of CeaseFire Maryland, Inc. joined with candidates for the Maryland Senate today. The coalition announced they would work together to push for passage of a bill to get military-style semiautomatic assault weapons off Maryland streets - and started today with a public plea for voters to support two candidates who have pledged to make the issue a priority if elected to the Maryland Senate.
"Enough is enough," said Sarah Brady, the wife of Jim Brady, the former press secretary to President Ronald Reagan. "If you can't change the law, it means it's time to change the lawmakers. The people of Maryland have wanted these dangerous weapons removed from their communities for more than a decade. We are joining forces to say we're going to push this and push this until it's a done deal."
Last year, Mrs. Brady and her organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, joined with CeaseFire Maryland Inc., the state's leading gun violence prevention advocacy organization, in targeting Maryland Senator John Giannetti for defeat after he blocked Senate passage of an assault weapons ban. They were joined today by Jim Rosapepe, the former state legislator who has been waging an extremely promising effort to unseat Senator Giannetti in the Senate District 21 Democratic primary election. The primary is on September 12.
"John Giannetti has used his position to help the extreme gun lobby, instead of Maryland families," Mrs.Brady said. "I've known Jim Rosapepe for many years - he cares about our children, not the extreme special interest lobbyists."
She was also joined by Mike Lenett, who is seeking a state Senate seat from District 19 in Montgomery County. "As Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Mike Lenett was instrumental in the fight to enact the Brady Bill and the federal ban on semiautomatic assault weapons. Now we are calling upon Mike again to help lead the fight in Maryland to enact a ban on military-style assault weapons, as well as to enact other reasonable measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," Mrs. Brady said.
"For too long, the ban on assault weapons in Maryland has been stalled. I want to say to the voters in Mike's home district in Montgomery County, we need Mike's leadership, knowledge, and drive to help us break this intolerable impasse," Mrs. Brady said. "Mike knows these issues, Mike knows how to fight the NRA, and Mike knows how to win. Please support him on September 12. Send him to Annapolis so he can carry on his fight for public safety."
CeaseFire Maryland, Inc. leaders joined Mrs. Brady in the endorsements.
"CeaseFire Maryland, Inc. is proud to endorse Jim Rosapepe and Mike Lenett for the Maryland Senate because they understand that assault weapons are a menace to public safety and they will fight to ban them once and for all this January," said Lisa Miller Delity, Board President of CeaseFire Maryland, Inc. "As the sister of a law enforcement officer who was gunned down with an assault weapon, I know we can't afford to have legislators like Jim's opponent, John Giannetti, who pander to the NRA even as they pretend to support law enforcement.
"Voters can be confident that if they send Jim Rosapepe and Mike Lenett to Annapolis, they will be sending people with the experience and know-how to lead the fight against the NRA and its minions from the very first day," Delity said.
Mrs. Brady and CeaseFire Maryland, Inc. are also strongly supporting the re-election of Delegate Neil Quinter, who is the principal sponsor of the assault weapon legislation. Delegate Quinter was unable to attend Tuesday's announcement.
The Brady Campaign has been targeting Senator Giannetti in direct mail and in emails to supporters for a year. In April, for example, a letter was sent to some 800,000 households nationwide.
"Senator Giannetti," the letter read, "thought that single- handedly killing the state's Assault Weapons Ban would win him favor with the NRA and guarantee him an easy re-election. But he is now learning a tough lesson: adopting the NRA's dangerous agenda is not only bad for your state: It's bad for your career...
"In January, he personally called us to ask that we take the heat off him. But we won't."