Reporting Meghan McCorkell
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Governor Martin O’Malley promises sweeping legislation that would give Maryland some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Now gun advocates are firing back.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the battle brewing in Annapolis.
The governor is pushing for what he calls a comprehensive legislative package on gun control that would include a ban on assault rifles.
Twenty-six people were gunned down in a Connecticut elementary school. Twelve were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a Colorado movie theatre.
Those national tragedies are sparking action here in Maryland.
“There is a sickness in our country. And that sickness is gun violence,” said O’Malley.
O’Malley is calling for big changes to state gun law, including fingerprinting, background checks and prohibiting assault rifles.
Under the governor’s proposal, guns like this AR-15 would be banned in the state of Maryland.
“It will also limit the size of magazines to make it harder for criminals to gun down in succession police officers or school children,” O’Malley said.
The governor announced his proposal at a gun policy summit at Johns Hopkins.
He was joined by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s pushing for stricter federal laws.
“Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress and the White House to put public health above special interest politics,” Bloomberg said.
At Horst and McCann Firearms in Bel Air, gun sales have skyrocketed ahead of any new laws.
Owner Michael Horst says in just one hour he sold 10 assault rifles.
“It’s not just assault rifles. People are buying more handguns. They’re buying more shotguns, ammunition,” Horst said.
He believes any new regulations will only impact law-abiding citizens.
“Nothing that they’ve done in the past has seemed to have any kind of positive effect on criminal use of firearms,” Horst said.
Now the debate over guns begins in Annapolis.
The governor’s plan would also include a new state center for school safety to improve security measures inside schools.
The governor is expected to provide more details about his gun control proposal when he rolls out his legislative agenda on Friday.