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Under Fire: Maryland Senate Takes Up Gun Control

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland Senate debates new gun regulations and the arguments are already getting heated.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains the governor’s Firearms Safety Act of 2013 is raising constitutional questions.

The Sandy Hook School massacre in Newtown, Conn. has Maryland looking at licensing and fingerprinting people who want to own guns.

“There are people in this body, when we said, `We want you to show ID to vote’ went crazy. `Oh my gosh, that’s terrible, people can’t do it.’ Now we’re saying for a constitutional right, they have to get fingerprinted and a license,” said Senator Allan Kittleman.

The governor’s bill calls for a ban on all assault weapons, a magazine capacity limited to 10 rounds and licensing with restrictions on possession and ammunition.

“The best description of this bill–this is a gotcha bill. There’s provision after provision in this bill that’s `gotcha,’ where we take legal, law-abiding citizens and make them criminals,” said Senator E.J. Pipkin.

The bill includes mental health prohibitions against gun ownership, a handgun licensing and regulation system that makes ownership more expensive and complicated.

“This is not a gun control bill. This is firearms safety. This is firearm regulation and it’s designed to protect our citizenry,” said Senate President Mike Miller.

The Senate vote may not come until Friday, the same day the House committees hear the bill and advocates for guns and proponents for gun control rally here again.

There are at least 20 amendments to the bill that will be debated starting Wednesday.

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