It seems like just the other day when I was writing about how the moderate Republican Governor of Maryland was at least partially succeeding in curbing some of the more rabidly liberal impulses of the Democrats in his state. (Oh, that’s right. It actually was just the other day.) As it turns out, not all of the Democrats have been embracing the cross-party goodness, however. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) documents some of the comments put forward by the Maryland Democratic Party Secretary this month, and he’s not exactly taking that whole bipartisan spirit to heart, at least when it comes to the Second Amendment rights of his state’s citizens.
In late February, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee was set to debate some additional gun control measures and various gun rights supporters showed up wearing shirts bearing the message, “We Will Not Comply.” This display of civil disobedience prompted Party Secretary Robbie Leonard to take to social media and respond with some free speech of his own. His, however, was a bit less restrained. (Emphasis added)
According to a local news source, Leonard posted to Facebook, “I hope the FBI runs the name of every witness who is wearing a t-shirt that says ‘We Will Not Comply.’ They’re a bunch of terrorists in the making.” In another missive, Leonard posted photos from the hearing along with the message “Time to dox some homegrown terrorists.” For those unfamiliar with the term, “doxing” is an intimidation tactic whereby someone makes another person’s private or identifying information available to the public with the intent to prompt a harassment campaign against them.
Well, isn’t that just lovely, coming as it does from a senior party leader. Leonard’s right to free speech gives him the right to call supporters of the Second Amendment “terrorists” if he wishes, but the doxxing issue takes the question to a new level. As the NRA-ILA notes, existing Maryland law prohibits intentional malicious harassment, particularly when it’s done “through the use of electronic communication.”
Given that liberals are already taking up the call to identify (and presumably “pay back”) the demonstrators, this would definitely appear to qualify as a violation. And as we’ve seen far too often on both sides of the aisle, it’s generally only one small step from doxxing to swatting. These stories rarely end well.
We shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that Robbie Leonard is somehow an exception to the rule or off the bell curve for Maryland Democrats these days. Keep in mind that this is the same state party that recently refused to seat new members for the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board because the board had been approving too many permits. (Yes, that’s actually their job.) So while Governor Hogan may represent a moderating influence in the state in some areas, garnering him some of the highest approval ratings of any governor in the nation, the currents running below the surface of his state’s Democratic Party are anything but moderate.