Blog: Delegates bring God into gun debate

Blog: Delegates bring God into gun debate

Del. Luiz Simmons

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The House Judiciary Committee brought God into its debate about gun legislation.

At the meeting, Del. Michael Smigiel, R-Cecil, argued in favor of his bill, which would allow gun permit holders in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia to carry their guns in Maryland. He said that right, the right to the Second Amendment, was an inalienable right and came from God — not from the state.

Del. Michael Smigiel

Del. Michael Smigiel, taken from his Facebook page

“That’s where we differ, I think, it’s in the basic philosophy, of whether or not that right to carry comes from the government and can be controlled by the government or it comes from God,” Smigiel said in response to opposition about his bill.

To which Simmons uttered a rather meeting-altering statement.

“I think that where we really differ is that I presume to be differing with you, not to be differing with God,” Del. Luiz Simmons, D-Montgomery, responded.

Whether Simmons meant his statement a joke or as a way to put Smigiel in his place during their debate about his bill, it certainly set the the tone for Tuesday’s meeting.

Del. Luiz Simmons

Del. Luiz Simmons

Even though he insisted it was a joke, he used it as a way to find the gray area in Smigiel’s arguments by questioning whether gun ownership was solely based on God’s discretion or whether the government also plays a role.

While no tempers erupted during the nearly 3 ½ -hour hearing, there certainly was an undercurrent of tension at the meeting, as shown by Simmons’ and Smigiel’s exchange. Delegates found flaws in both sides’ arguments and spent countless minutes arguing over the tiniest points. And in the end, neither side gave any leeway and no common ground was reached.

“Would you be in favor of the bill if it were to stop the homicides by half?” Smigiel asked the Rev. Madeleine Beard of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, the last witness of the day to testify.

Despite speculation about possible outcomes “there is no exception,” in the church’s stance on the issue, Beard replied.

—Abby Rogers

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. W1

    I think Luiz is a good guy–just wrong here. Locke would argue very convincly that a basic inalienable right is the right to protect one’s own life by any means necessary.

  2. Rodriguesims

    Not surprised, Simmons is very arrogant. Discussion with Simmons is like Michelle Bachmann. There is only one point of view and all the others are just wrong. Except he goes the extra mile to be rude as well.

  3. Nsforster

    What? Doesn’t everybody know about the 11th Commandment? Thou Shalt Not Forbid Citizens of Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvaniza From Carrying Guns Into Maryland.


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