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O'Malley's Gun Control Plan: Licensing, Assault Weapons Ban

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Gov. Martin O'Malley announced his four-point gun control package at a press conference Friday.
Matt Bush
Gov. Martin O'Malley announced his four-point gun control package at a press conference Friday.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has officially unveiled his gun control bill for this year's General Assembly session.

The governor's bill touches on many aspects of the gun issues, but its focus is on banning military-style assault weapons, which O'Malley said have no place in the state of Maryland.

"The only place for military assault weapons is on the battlefield in the hands of our men and women and soldiers in the armed forces who have a dangerous job to do," O'Malley said. "It will also limit the size of magazines."

O'Malley also wants some of the tightest licensing requirements in the country, which would force those seeking to buy a gun first secure a license. Vinnie Demarco of Marylanders To Prevent Gun Violence said that is the provision about which he is most pleased.

"When you license someone before they can purchase a handgun, you deter them from purchasing guns for criminals," Demarco said. "And that's what reduces gun violence. The vast majority of guns used in crime are recently bought."

Legislative leaders flanked the governor as he unveiled his plans, like Democratic Senator Brian Frosh of Montgomery County.

"There are those who think the answer to gun violence is more guns. To me, that is Groucho Marx logic...who are you going to believe? Me or your own eyes?"

Republican Senate leader E.J. Pipkin says the new licensing requirements, which include fingerprinting and safety certifications, put too much of a burden on prospective gun buyers.

"In effect, this is discrimination against the poor, because the only people who are going to be able to afford guns in Maryland are going to be rich people who have the money and time to comply with this," Pipkin said.

With Democrats in firm control of both branches of the General Assembly, it would seem likely they will be able to pass much of what the governor is seeking.

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