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Maryland And Virginia Going In Opposite Directions On Gun Control

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Virginia is trying to make it easier for teachers to carry guns in the classroom, while Maryland lawmakers are tightening up gun laws.
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Virginia is trying to make it easier for teachers to carry guns in the classroom, while Maryland lawmakers are tightening up gun laws.

Lawmakers in Montgomery County, Md., are behind many of the gun control measures that will be introduced during the upcoming session of the state's General Assembly. Even if the bills pass, however, lawmakers say their impact could be blunted by legislation in neighborhing Virginia.

The two states seem to be going in opposite directions when it comes to gun control. Some Maryland lawmakers will push for tighter gun laws next year. Meanwhile, in Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell says he's considering allowing teachers to carry concealed handguns at school.

Maryland state senator Jamie Raskin, from Montgomery County, is sponsoring the assault weapon ban in Maryland. Raskin says he sees the "logic" behind arming teachers, even though he strongly disagrees with it.

"They're basically saying, 'Forget it. We're not going to be like the rest of the world. We're not going to be able to keep dangerous guns out of public places, so let's just arm everybody,'" Raskin says, about the proposal in Virginia. "And that's not insane if you start with their premise that we should have assault weapons floating around in society."

The assault weapon ban has been brought up before in Maryland, but it hasn't passed. Raskin thinks that may be different next year because of public outrage at the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting last week.

Fellow state senator Brian Frosh says a Maryland assault weapon ban could lose some effectiveness if such guns are available right across the Potomac River.

"Obviously if Congress passed it, that would be the best," Frosh says. "But we can do something."

Montgomery County state's attorney John McCarthy agrees.

"The proximity of Virginia would compromise what we do in Maryland," McCarthy says. "But like many things in life, you can only be responsible for yourself."

Other bills to be introduced in Annapolis next month include smaller ammunition clips, and tougher reporting and record keeping requirements for gun dealers.

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