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Md., U.S. Officials Debate Gun Control After Newtown Tragedy

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s a nationwide call for fast action to reduce gun violence. On the heels of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., new plans are introduced at a state and national level to tackle the urgent issue.

Kai Jackson has more on this highly contentious debate.

The president is leading a national effort involving gun control while lawmakers in Maryland are attempting the same thing on a state level.

The shooting murders of 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school last week has prompted a national debate on gun control and a promise from President Barack Obama.

“The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean that we can’t reduce the violence,” Obama said.

The president appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force. He wants the group to find ways of reducing gun violence, which would include getting assault weapons off the streets.

New York Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McHarvey lost her husband in a mass shooting in 1993.

“It’s all of us Americans who are mourning the deaths in Newtown and we don’t want to see any more of these shootings again,” she said.

Maryland leaders are also speaking out following the Connecticut murders.

“The first email I open is the overnight printout of the number of persons in our state who were murdered overnight,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

Several state lawmakers promise to introduce various bills that would ban assault weapons, better records on gun purchases, limit gun permits and limits on ammunition in a magazine.

Gun control advocates expect opposition, especially from groups like the NRA. Yet this time, many aren’t worried about NRA backlash.

“Now politicians are afraid if they don’t act,” said Sen. Jamie Raskin, (D) Montgomery County.

Vice President Biden is scheduled to meet with law enforcement officers from around the country starting Thursday. President Obama says he’ll have ideas for Congress starting next month.

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