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Maryland Attorney General Says Gun Control Bill Is Constitutional

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Under Maryland's new gun control law, a number of assault weapons would be banned and fingerprints would be required from those purchasing handguns.
Keith Lafaille: http://www.flickr.com/photos/klafaille/6218726857/
Under Maryland's new gun control law, a number of assault weapons would be banned and fingerprints would be required from those purchasing handguns.

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler says a sweeping gun control bill passed in Maryland this year is constitutional and legally defensible.

The attorney general's office released a 25-page letter to Gov. Martin O'Malley that examines the constitutionality of the bill, which O'Malley proposed this year as a top legislative priority. In the letter, Gansler says the measure was crafted carefully to balance the rights of legitimate gun owners with the need for increased public and law enforcement safety from gun violence.

The measure will require people who buy a handgun to submit fingerprints to state police. It also bans 45 types of assault weapons, although people who own them now will be allowed to keep them. It also limits gun magazines to 10 bullets.

Soon after the General Assembly passed the law, which was created in the wake of last year's Newtown massacre, the National Rifle Association filed suit, saying the law is unconstitutional. Local opponents have opted against pushing for a referendum on the law, and are instead backing the lawsuit.

O'Malley is planning on signing the bill into law next week.

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