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Petition Drive Falls Flat; Gun Control Law Won’t Go To Voters

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A petition to try and send new gun control laws to Maryland voters has failed, making the legislation effective in just months. It’s a decision that has some happy and others up in arms.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on what this means for gun owners and new reaction to the failed petition.

The new law that will require gun purchasers to be fingerprinted will go into effect in a few months. It’s good news for those who support Gov. Martin O’Malley, but those who oppose aren’t biting the bullet just yet.

Maryland’s new gun law will be enforced in just four months.

Petitions to have it put to a referendum failed.

“I thought the citizens of Maryland deserved a voice on this issue,” said petitioner Sue Payne, who spearheaded the effort to overturn Maryland’s new gun law.

It will ban assault style weapons, put a 10 round limit on magazines, require finger printing for new gun purchasers, firearms training and licensing and renewal fees.

“We were about a thousand names short,” said Payne.

Unable to be reached for comment, Payne took her frustrations on the failed petition to the airwaves, speaking on House Del. Pat McDonough’s radio show.

“I really think another day or two, Pat, we would have made it because when I went to P.O. Box this morning they had left a key in the P.O. Box and I had to unlock a huge locker and there were all kinds of petitions. That just didn’t get to me in time,” said McDonough.

Supporters of the law took their fight to television ads, and it appears to have worked.

“They couldn’t even get enough signatures to put it on the ballot,” said Vincent DeMarco with Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence.

“We knew this was going to happen; 68 percent of gun owners and over 85 percent of Marylanders support what’s in this law,” said DeMarco.

The fight isn’t over just yet. Lawsuits are likely by the NRA, which did not support the idea of a petition.

But McDonough said a lawsuit has a slim chance of making a difference in enough time to have an effect.

“In Maryland, which is even worse, they have a notorious record of sitting on lawsuits so it may be five years before the appeals court says you’re right,” said McDonough.

A total of 18,000 signatures were needed to put the law to referendum.

The new gun control laws will go into effect October 1.

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