ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Martin O’Malley’s gun control bill got raked over the coals in Annapolis Thursday.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports members of the House and Senate say it amounts to a poll tax.
Gun control was in the sights of the state of the state address.
“I ask you to require a license for the purchase of all handguns,” O’Malley said.
Thursday, there was backlash.
“Only rich people are going to be able to afford guns in the state of Maryland,” said E.J. Pipkin.
Anyone buying a gun in Maryland would have to pay a $100 licensing fee, in addition to other costs and training.
“We think the governor’s bill, this licensing proposal, is the equivalent of a poll tax,” said Pipkin.
The poll tax required black citizens to take tests and pay money in order to exercise their right to vote. Gun bill opponents estimate it would cost $400 to exercise the right to own a handgun.
“We think that’s a hurdle for those that are of limited means and struggling to make ends meet,” said Pipkin.
The Sandy Hook massacre has moved the federal government, along with states, to clam controls on firearms.
“Who can see the pictures of those young faces and honestly say that we are doing enough?” said O’Malley.
But critics of the governor’s bill caution against getting caught up in emotion.
“This bill will not do anything to keep our kids safer. It will do nothing to keep a massacre from happening,” said Mike McDermott.
All but one of Thursday’s participants were Republicans but some Democrats also have questions about the bill.
A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday.
The governor’s bill includes a ban on assault rifles.