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Maryland Officials Call For Stronger Gun Laws

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Kamenetz, Jim Johnson

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Maryland lawmakers are calling for strengthened gun laws in wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a 20-year-old gunman killed 20 children and six adults last week.

Adam May has more on local lawmakers calling for action.

New gun control legislation will be introduced after the holidays. But the controversial issue won’t be easy to pass.

It’s hard to imagine a 6-year-old playing dead as all of her classmates are gunned down around her with a Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle.

As new chilling details emerge about the tragedy at Sandy Hook, calls for more gun controls are mounting.

“We can’t let these dear children’s lives be lost in vain without it being a wake-up call. It needs to be,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Leaders from Baltimore City to Baltimore County are calling on federal lawmakers to act.

“I don’t think there’s one person who thinks we should have assault weapons, AK-47’s, out in the public,” said Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive.

From 1994 to 2004 many assault rifles were banned, but the law expired.

Protesters in Washington, D.C. blame the powerful National Rifle Association and so does Baltimore County’s police chief, who is chairman of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence.

“It’s time to act. There should be no more excuses,” said Chief Jim Johnson.

The chief and others want a new ban on assault weapons, a limit on high capacity magazines and background checks for all.

“We haven’t stopped to understand what’s taking place. You might want to stop by a range and look behind the counter. You’ll be shocked at what you see,” Johnson said.

Some pro-gun lawmakers agree now is the time to revisit current laws.

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski says discussions should include all parties, including the NRA and mental health experts.

“Let’s join together and take this national tragedy and turn it into a national opportunity to end violence,” Sen. Mikulski said.

The National Rifle Association still hasn’t commented on the tragedy or calls for more gun control.

In fact, earlier Monday they took down their Facebook page.

Under the expired gun laws, 2 million gun purchases were denied.

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