Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley on Charleston: Quick to Call for New Gun Laws, Unprepared to Talk About Racism

Catching the candidate off guard


Hmm. Should I pivot to calling it a war on faith? No, that's Fox.

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley was a guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe today. Asked about the Charleston church massacre, the former Maryland governor took the opportunity to offer his views on gun control and mental-health interventions. (He's for both.) After several minutes of this, fellow panelist Walter Isaacson raised an issue at the core of the crime: shooter Dylann Roof's racist motives. At that point O'Malley started to stammer:

O'Malley: From the reports I read—and let's be honest with one another, the facts are still evolving here—I mean, this, it would appear that the racial motivation was, uh, certainly a big part of what happened here.

Isaacson: So how do we address things like that?

O'Malley: We do it by—we do it by, by, uh, acknowledging the racial legacy that we share as Americans, and, and, um, I don't know exactly how we, how we, how we address this, Walter. I mean, look, we, as Americans, all share a very painful racial legacy, and, um, and we need to acknowledge it, and we need to take actions to, to heal it. But I don't think anybody's figured out the, the magic solution to that.

In due fairness to O'Malley, there isn't some sort of easy solution to Roof-style racial resentment—certainly nothing that could be boiled down to a TV soundbite or a presidential platform plank. But the candidate was clearly unprepared for the question, as though it hadn't occurred to him that a conversation about an act of racist terrorism might at some point turn to the topic of race.

Later in the day, O'Malley sent supporters an email that ignored the racist roots of the attack entirely, skipping straight to a call for new gun controls:


I'm pissed.

I'm pissed that after an unthinkable tragedy like the one in South Carolina yesterday, instead of jumping to act, we sit back and wait for the appropriate moment to say what we're all thinking: that this is not the America we want to be living in.

I'm pissed that we're actually asking ourselves the horrific question of, what will it take? How many senseless acts of violence in our streets or tragedies in our communities will it take to get our nation to stop caving to special interests like the NRA when people are dying?

I'm pissed that after working hard in the state of Maryland to pass real gun control—laws that banned high-magazine weapons, increased licensing standards, and required fingerprinting for handgun purchasers—Congress continues to drop the ball.

It's time we called this what it is: a national crisis.

I proudly hold an F rating from the NRA, and when I worked to pass gun control in Maryland, the NRA threatened me with legal action, but I never backed down.

So now, I'm doubling down, and I need your help. What we did in Maryland should be the first step of what we do as a nation. The NRA is already blaming the victims of yesterday's shooting for their own deaths, saying they too should have been armed. Let's put an end to this madness and finally stand up to them. Here are some steps we should be taking:

1. A national assault weapons ban.

2. Stricter background checks.

3. Efforts to reduce straw-buying, like fingerprint requirements.

Not one of the GOP presidential candidates comes even close to being right on this issue—and some actually believe that things like background checks are excessive, or that high-capacity magazines are a basic right. Well, I believe we all have a basic right to safe schools, safe places to worship, and safe streets.

Are you with me?

Martin O'Malley

This quick pivot looks even worse in conjunction with the blots on O'Malley's own civil rights record. (The NAACP and ACLU got an $870,000 settlement out of the City of Baltimore for unconstitutional arrests conducted while he was mayor.) Add the long historical relationship between gun control measures and anti-black repression, and the whole thing just leaves a foul taste in my mouth.

NEXT: Sanders' Immigration Record Scrutinized, Roof Charged With Murder, Wikileaks Publishes Saudi Docs: P.M. Links

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  1. One simply must make political hay while the gun shines.

    1. What if it’s done in matte and doesn’t shine?

      Make hay anyway, I suppose….

  2. By the way, that whole letter you posted is a huge hyperlink that sends you to the O’Malley campaign website.

  3. A national assault weapons ban.

    That will certainly stop future attacks with pistols…

    Not one of the GOP presidential candidates comes even close to being right on this issue

    … The clear and unequivocal language in the Second Amendment notwithstanding…

  4. Just be certain to not get caught up in the baler.

  5. Another fan of FEELZ over thought.

    1. Thought is cold and dispassionate, emotionally draining.. FEELZ is much more rewarding emotionally, and signals better when pinging for open ports on the prog groupthink network..

  6. Honestly, I found O’Malley’s first reaction the more eloquent of the two.

    He was unprepared for the question because there really isn’t a good answer to the question. Or at least a good answer that a politician can offer. You’re never going to legislate away the existence of sick, evil, fucks.

    1. Well I’m PISSED! And I want someone else to DO SOMETHING! Cause that’s the only way we’re going to see REAL CHANGE in this country! For people – someone else – to DO SOMETHING! NOW!

      1. Yeah, he was a spineless, chickenshit coward for not potentially alienating a significant portion of his voter base to hand the media a trophy soundbyte, and decreeing that all white people are unrepentant racists.. and probably terrorists as well..

  7. Yeah, I’m looking for the candidate who has a “plan” on how to address “things like that”.

    I’m PISSED, too, O’Malley. PISSED you didn’t fall into a wood chipper sometime back*.

    * speaking strictly in the sense of fantasy, and accidents, not about any willful or prompted behavior nor in any way wishing O’Malley ill, although he totally merits it

    1. ‘You think that disclaimer protects you? – The Justice Department”

      1. “No, not really.” – me

  8. Are you with me?

    Martin O’Malley

    Go fuck yourself Guitarzan….!

  9. Would any of these ideas have stopped the guy that murdered and tortured that family and set the house on fire?And was that a ‘hate’ crime? Bad people do bad things,you can’t watch every one .Is anyone else tired of the term ‘lone wolf ‘?

  10. The dance? I’m for it.

  11. So, in the wake of a tragedy, you propose three things, none of which would have prevented the tragedy. The shooter (1) used a handgun, which was (2 & 3) given to him by a relative (last I heard, anyway).

    If you’re going to capitalize on a tragedy to push your personal policy preferences, at least try to make those policy proposals relevant to the tragedy you’re capitalizing on. Otherwise, the whole thing just comes across as cynically manipulative.

    1. I heard a report he bought the gun with gift money from his father.They need to outlaw cash.

      1. Fair enough. I’ll concede, then, that “stricter background checks” *might* have prevented him from buying this gun. So, one of the three proposals is relevant.

        “…at least try to make those policy proposals more than 33% relevant to the tragedy you’re capitalizing on.” 🙂

    2. The shooter (1) used a handgun, which was (2 & 3) given to him by a relative (last I heard, anyway).

      FWIW, it now appears that he bought the gun himself. (But it still isn’t an assault weapon.)

      1. …and Adans beat me to it.

      2. “But it still isn’t an assault weapon.”

        Well, that depends on how broadly they can get away with defining “assault weapon”…

  12. [W]hen I worked to pass gun control in Maryland, the NRA threatened me with legal action, but I never backed down.

    Translation: I knowingly try to pass unconstitutional legislation.

    1. Well, “shall not be infringed” is such a vague phrase…

      1. infringed.. imposed.. enforced.. whatever, It’s only words..

  13. Wacko kills people. And the cry goes up: “Disarm the law abiding!”

    How many times did the guy reload? How long did it take? A couple of guys with concealed carry would have likely saved lives.

  14. Speaking of odious shitbags

    He reiterated his fierce criticism of the USA Freedom Act, which in late May brought an end to bulk collection of telephone records by the National Security Agency, calling congressional lawmakers “shortsighted” for supporting the law.

    Mr. Christie drew criticism in late May for comments he made about the legislation, suggesting that it puts civil liberties over American lives. “You can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin,” he said then.

    On Friday, the normally outspoken governor was more delicate in his language, but he did not refrain from needling the Republican presidential field, some of whom, Mr. Christie suggested but not by name, were grandstanding on the United States Senate floor to raise money for their campaigns (Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator, has come under particular criticism on this front).

    “This is not about politics,” Mr. Christie said, drawing applause. “This is about life and death for our country. And I stand with keeping America safe and keeping America strong, and not giving political speeches on the floor of the Senate to raise money for a presidential campaign.”

    Talk about pandering. Who the fuck would vote for that guy?

  15. I am probably very alone here. . . but I found myself quite enraged at the vulgar language in the letter.

  16. ANGRY

    Mr. O’Malley repeatedly used a word that is sometimes invoked to accentuate anger, and appeared to take an oblique swipe at his leading party rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Instead of “jumping to act,” he said, people are choosing to “sit back and wait for the appropriate moment to say what we’re all thinking: that this is not the America we want to be living in.”

    He chastised Congress for failing to pass stronger gun control laws in early 2013 after the deaths of nearly two dozen children at a school Newtown, Conn., and highlighted his record as the governor of Maryland passing laws “that banned high-magazine weapons, increased licensing standards and required fingerprinting for handgun purchasers.”

    “It’s time we called this what it is: a national crisis,” he wrote in his email. “I proudly hold an ‘F’ rating from the N.R.A., and when I worked to pass gun control in Maryland, the N.R.A. threatened me with legal action, but I never backed down.”

    The gun control bill that died in Congress more than two years ago was a blow to President Obama, and began a longer-term drop in his popularity.

    Something must be done.
    Also, poor Obama, why must those racists torment him so?

  17. Fingerprint handgun owners?
    How about a daily piss-in-the-cup test for the President?

  18. “…banned high-magazine weapons…”

    What the fcuk is a “high-magazine weapon” anyway? How do they expect to craft effective laws about anything of which they lack even a basic understanding?

  19. “we, as Americans, all share a very painful racial legacy, and, um, and we need to acknowledge it, and we need to take actions to, to heal it. But I don’t think anybody’s figured out the, the magic solution to that.”

    Because you are a douchebag. Who the hell is we? Gov’t institutionalized slavery, the black codes, and the Jim Crowe laws. Gov’t then created the war on individuals known as the war on drugs. By disarming individuals, folks in the ghetto can’t defend themselves, so they are easy targets for people. Store owners have such a difficult time getting a gun, that by time the paperwork and all the bs about them carrying a certain amount of cash to be worthy of getting a permit…..they’ve already been robbed, or robbed and murdered by folks that could give two shits about gun control, or laws and are motivated by knowing individuals can’t defend themselves or their property.

  20. All gun laws are unconstitutional. PERIOD. A citizens have the right to bear arms. PERIOD. If you want to stop gun violence you need only to pass one Federal law. If you are a US citizen and use a gun to commit robbery, rape, kidnapping or murder or you are a non US citizen caught carrying a gun on your person you will be executed. PERIOD. Another thing that would help is if the news media would stop giving so much airtime to the perp. Report the crime and never mention the asshole that did it. Catch them try them and execute them but never mention thier names. Mass killers are looking for attention and by giving them weeks of news coverage uou are simply breeding more mass killers who want there 15 minutes of fame. Now is it that hard to figure out how to deal with bad people without screwing over good people. Or is the real reason the government wants to control guns is the same reason they want to control schools. CONTROL. …..WAKEUP AMERICA

  21. Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, another double talking politician. By the way, EXACTLY what are the “assault weapons” he would ban. A precise definition, please, for in-so-far as I can tell, the much bandied about term “assault weapon” is politicians double-talk.

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  23. This clown is like all on the left. They are not looking to actually solve the problem, but push the easy politically expedient answer. Progressives as a group have an irrational fear of guns. They see no need for them and are terrified by anyone who owns them. They view anyone with a gun as a potential mass murderer just waiting for the right moment to act. My question for O’ Malley is does his ban mean the sale of “:assault rifles” or the possession of them? Is he promoting the mass confiscation of all assault rifles when Roof used a handgun? Is he classifying all semi auto weapons as assault weapons? How many times do Courts have to rule we, the people, have a right to possess firearms before these idiots get the message? Every ban they have tried in the past 10 years has been overturned by the Courts. It does not matter what they think the intent of the Second amendment is or how it should be interpreted, that is the role of the judicial branch. They attempt to silence critics by calling opposition speech “hate speech” and they seek to disarm the public by imposing “common sense” gun laws. When is it common sense to willingly leave yourself defenseless?

  24. High magazine weapons? WTF, over.

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