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Md. Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Legislation After Making Changes

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A state Senate committee has approved legislation to tighten controls on gun ownership in Maryland.

But as political reporter Pat Warren explains, that’s no indication of a rubber stamp.

Gun rights advocates up in arms swarmed the State House this month to oppose the governor’s gun control proposals.

“You’re trying to make me pay for the crimes of other people,” a protester complained.

Those proposals have now passed through the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote.

“I think it’s an excellent bill. I think it’s in great shape,” said Committee Chairman Brian Frosh.

The bill includes a prohibition against gun ownership for people with mental health problems. Those involuntarily committed would not be allowed to own a gun.

It also sets fees and regulations for licensing handguns, although the committee adjusted the fees. And it includes a weapons ban and limits bullets in a magazine to 10.

“Each one of [the proposals] will save lives. Marylanders will be safer with all of this stuff,” said Frosh.

That’s the heart of the debate.

“What they’re offering right now is not solving the problem,” a gun rights supporter said.

Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin agrees.

“The governor’s bill still has a lot of provisions in it, the penalties, licensing, a lot of discretion to the state police that make gun owners unhappy and we’re going to fight it on the floor,” he said.

The bill has the backing of a coalition of faith-based and community organizations. Marylanders To Prevent Gun Violence praises the committee’s vote.

The gun fight on the Senate floor is scheduled for next week.

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