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Gov. O’Malley Signs Gun Control, Gas Tax Bills Into Law

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McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Assault rifles–banned. Gun buying–limited. The governor signs Maryland’s tough new gun law, and it’s already meeting major resistance.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the signing and the backlash.

Even though the gun safety measure has already been signed into law, opponents say the fight is not over.

In the wake of the horrors in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo., Maryland comes out with some of the strongest gun laws in the United States.

“If we want better results, we have to make better choices,” said Governor O’Malley.

With the swipe of a pen, the governor signs the Firearms Safety Act. The law bans assault style weapons and puts a ten round limit on magazines. It also requires fingerprinting for handgun purchasers, firearms training and licensing  and renewal fees.

Supporters of the law say it will keep guns out of the hands of criminals while protecting individual rights.

“There is no infringement on Second Amendment rights with this law. All it does is save lives,” said Vincent DeMarco, President of Marylanders To Prevent Gun Violence.

But opponents disagree. Now some are working to get enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in November.

Free State Petitions say the effort would at least delay the law from taking effect.

“It stops this bill from becoming law for 18 months and it cannot go into effect until November 2014,” said organizer Sue Payne.

They say the gun control law needs to be repealed.

“This bill is an infringement on citizen rights and an infringement on our freedom,” said Dee Hodges.

“The cities in the United States with the most gun control laws are the most dangerous,” said Larry Helminiak.

The group needs nearly 56,000 signatures by the end of June to get gun control on the ballot.

The NRA is not supporting the petition effort. Instead, they say they’ll fight the law in court.

The Firearms Safety Act is set to take effect on October 1.

—–
And get ready to pay more at the pump. Governor Martin O’Malley also signed into law the first hike in the state’s gas tax in more than 20 years.

Derek Valcourt takes a look at the increase and the reaction to it.

The governor and other lawmakers knew it would be politically unpopular, but it’s a done deal now. The gas tax goes up a little this year, a little more next year, and a little more the year after.

Starting July 1, the gas in your tank will cost about four cents more, thanks in part to the governor’s ink Thursday on the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013.

It passed in the General Assembly under mounting pressure to find a way to fund major road and transportation projects.

“As we build up and build out a modern transportation system, it will create an estimated 57,200 jobs over the next six years,” the governor said.

The new law phases in a sales tax on gas that analysts expect will add to the current 23.5 cents gas tax by about four cents this year, about another four cents the year after that, then in 2016, things get tricky.

Not only will the gas tax go up about another four cents, if Congress doesn’t allow states to collect sales tax on online purchases, Maryland will boost the gas tax even more, bringing it to 39.2 cents.

By 2018, you could be paying nearly 45 cents per gallon in taxes.

“When you put 20  gallons of gas in your car, that’s another eight or nine dollars. I think it’s ridiculous,” a driver said.

“It’s a little exorbitant I think,” said another driver.

“Unfortunately, four cents here and four cents there, it’s a lot nowadays,” a woman said.

But some say they’re used to gas prices constantly rising anyway and don’t mind paying more, saying improved roads and less traffic would be worth it.

“I’d rather it go up for that than just to line an oil tycoon’s pockets,” said Nathaniel Sheppard.

When all is said and done, the new gas tax is expected to bring in $800 million n transportation funding each year.

The state has a list of transportation projects they’ve green-lighted as a result of the gas tax increase.

They include:

$82 million for construction — U.S. 15/Monocacy Boulevard interchange in Frederick County, Western Maryland.
$125 million for construction — I-270/Watkins Mill Road interchange in Montgomery County.
$100 million for construction — M.D. 210 at Kerby Hill Road/Livingston Road interchange in Prince George’s County.
$20 million for design — — new Thomas Johnson Bridge in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, Southern Maryland.$100 million for MARC enhancements — Penn weekend service, Camden weekday two new round-trips, new locomotives in Baltimore and Washington D.C.
$60 million for construction — I-695 Leeds Avenue interchange reconstruction and bridge replacement in Baltimore County.
$49 million for construction — U.S. 29 Northbound widening to three lanes from Seneca Drive to M.D. 175 in Howard County.
$44 million for construction — Aberdeen Proving Ground BRAC intersection improvement in Harford County.
$54 million for construction — U.S. 301/MD 304 interchange in Queen Anne’s County, Eastern Shore.
Transit funding for final design — Red Line $170 million, Purple Line $280 million, Corridor Cities Transitway $100 million in Baltimore and Washington D.C.

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