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House Delays Debate On Gun Control Bill

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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 House delays debate on the governor’s gun control bill.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what’s expected to happen next.

The bill is now scheduled for debate Tuesday and it could be a heated debate–but it is ultimately expected to pass.

In the course of debate, gun control opponents descended on Annapolis by the thousands.

“It’s not helping you, it’s not helping me,” said one opponent. “It’s helping criminals.”

“They start there and where’s next?” said another.

“It has nothing to do with the guns. It’s all about the control,” said another opponent.

And those in favor of gun control pushed back.

“If not now, when?” said one.

“It is common sense and it does find common ground that is supported by the vast majority of Marylanders,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

The bill bans assault-type weapons and puts a 10-limit round on magazines. It also adds regulations to owning handguns, including fingerprinting, firearms training and licensing and renewing fees.

“It is clear that the bill has more than enough votes to pass,” Baltimore Delegate Curt Anderson said.

But what version of the bill will pass? There is a list of more than a dozen amendments and the expectation of more to come.

“It is the last week of session. Anything can happen,” said Anderson.

Opponents are already gearing up for the prospect of a referendum.

“My message is clear. Read my lips: if you are opposed to this gun bill, you better start getting organized for this petition drive,” said Delegate Pat McDonough.

That could leave it up to the voters.

If the bill passes this session, the laws would take effect Oct. 1. A referendum would delay it more than a year.

The session ends April 8.

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