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O'Malley Testifies In Support Of Maryland Gun Control Bill

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Gun rights supporters rallied in front of the Maryland state house in Annapolis on Wednesday.
Matt Bush
Gun rights supporters rallied in front of the Maryland state house in Annapolis on Wednesday.

Hundreds lined up to speak at a state senate committee hearing in Annapolis on the gun control measures being pushed by Maryland governor Martin O'Malley.

Most of those in the line that snaked around two floors and out the door of the Miller Senate Building were there to speak in opposition to the governor's plan. O'Malley got to speak first, telling members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee that strict licensing requirements he is seeking are not burdensome. They include making prospective buyers get the license first before they can buy a handgun.

"It's our belief that if car owners can take a driving test and obtain a license, it's reasonable to ask for safety training and a criminal background check in order to obtain a license for purchase of a handgun," O'Malley said.

O'Malley took questions from the committee, but left the detailed answers to staff and Baltimore County state's attorney Scott Shellenberger, who disagreed with two Republican senators who feel the licensing requirements are unconstitutional because they are too burdensome.

"If you have $650 to pay for a weapon that you deserve to have in your home, I don't think it's unreasonable to pay a reasonable cost to make sure you're the kind of person who has the right to carry the gun by doing a background check and by making sure you're properly trained," Shellenberger said.

GOP Sens. Christopher Shank and Nancy Jacobs both pointed to the Supreme Court's ruling that overturned D.C.'s handgun ban in 2008 in arguing that the new licensing would put too much of a burden on those wishing to buy handguns, and therefore unconstitutional.

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