Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley isn't pussyfooting around the issue of gun control in the wake of the Charleston, S.C. shootings.

"I'm pissed," he said in an email with the same heading.

"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."


Taking a page from his actions as governor, he called for an assault weapons ban, stricter gun background checks and called for fingerprints of the gun buyer. His note is below:

Friend,

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

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.