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Annapolis Quiet at Start of House Gun Debate

Maryland lawmakers will likely vote on a gun bill this week.

By LUCAS HIGH, Capital News Service

An hour before what could be the biggest day in the months-long gun control saga, the State House and Lawyers Mall were oddly quiet.

The hundreds of Second Amendment activists and gun control advocates who have organized raucous rallies to mark each legislative milestone in the gun control bill’s march to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s desk were mostly absent from the capital as the House prepared for it final debate on HB 294 at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

O’Malley’s bill would ban the purchase of assault rifles, reduce maximum ammunition magazine size from 20 rounds to 10 and require handgun purchasers to submit digital fingerprints prior to licensing.

Do you think this proposed gun bill will have a significant impact on reducing gun violence in Maryland? Tell us in comments. 

The House was scheduled to debate amendments to the bill Tuesday afternoon and is likely to vote later in the week.

Advocates on both sides of the issue who made the trip to Annapolis said they were thinking positively as they climbed the steep State House stairs to watch the proceedings in the House chamber.

“I don’t think there is any way they won’t pass (the bill),” said Erin Sharkey Gormley, Maryland chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Rev. Cristina Paglinauan, an Episcopal priest at the Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore, said she was hopeful the House would pass a gun control bill that includes an assault rifle ban and fingerprint licensing.

The other side was equally hopeful.

“I’m pretty optimistic,” said Harry Berman of Finksburg, a member of the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment rights group Maryland Shall Issue, who has made 14 trips to Annapolis to protest the bill.

Berman said he was disappointed in a joint House committee that convened on Friday and moved the bill to the House floor without passing amendments that would have narrowed the legal definition of an assault rifle and eliminated the controversial fingerprinting requirement.

If the bill were to pass without major amendments, Maryland would have some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation.

The fingerprinting requirement barely survived the amendment process in the Senate, which passed the bill in February.

Henry Heymering April 03, 2013 at 03:54 PM
What other fundamental rights shall we restrict? Some books are dangerous - surely we can ban those dangerous books, and especially the high-capacity encyclopedias - no one but a criminal (or an authorized librarian) needs those. And churches ... some religions are OK, but some of them are a little too strange. Surely we should restrict those high-capacity mega-churches. The right to a trial? Really, these guys accused of heinous crimes don't deserve a trial. ... and so forth ... :-p
Gary April 03, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Great!!!!! What is someone to do out in the country where it takes up to two hours for the police to show up? Stand up and do a dance for the person who is breaking into your home till they show up or grab your AR 15 groundhog gun and protect your home and family. Oh bye the way I have a FFL C&R with fingerprints on file and the Great State of Maryland will not except it.
Steve April 03, 2013 at 09:59 PM
It passed! All over Maryland Fudds are crying in their beers.
Henry Heymering April 03, 2013 at 11:06 PM
OK so the Fudds will be disarmed now. How do you propose disarming the criminals? Or don't you care?
Steve April 04, 2013 at 02:19 PM
The Fudds won't be disarmed. They just had a dent put into their Hoplophilia fetishdom.

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