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Legislators Take Aim at Gun Legislation

Hundreds head to Annapolis to testify for and against a package of bills that would tighten gun regulations in Maryland.

Gun control supporters and opponents descended on a hearing room in Annapolis to debate a package of bills that is likely to be as divisive as any issue during the 90-day General Assembly session.

Gov. Martin O'Malley said his legislation was driven by the shootings in Newtown, CT. and more than 500 shooting deaths in Maryland last year.

"We are still losing too many of our citizens to gun violence," O'Malley said. "There's no such thing in our state as a spare American."

Hundreds gathered outside the State House Wednesday morning, hours before O'Malley was to testify, to rally against the proposed laws.

A line of people waiting to testify stretched outside the Senate office building. More than 500 people signed up to testify even though the committee limited testimony to just three minutes per person and a total of four hours each for all supporters and opponents of the proposed laws.

The committee took testimony on four bills that would make it more difficult for "straw buyers" to illegally obtain guns for criminals, increase gun licensing regulations, limit the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds and increase the penalties for armor-piercing ammunition.

But O'Malley's bill, which bans so-called military-style assault weapons and requires fingerprinting for all handgun purchases, drew the most testimony.

"We're licensing handguns not hunting rifles," O'Malley said.

Opponents of the bill say it unfairly penalizes legal gun owners and will hurt area businesses.

Tom Morris, a senior correspondent for the television show America's Most Wanted and a Maryland resident, said that while he understands why the legislature is considering the bill is merely reactionary.

"We are at a point where we all want something done about mass murder, mass violence," Morris said.

"At this juncture in our society, hysteria is ruing the debate," Morris said, adding that the bill as drafted "is detached from the basic realities of firearm ownership."

"it's punitive to law abiding citizens in this state," Morris said.

Jeff Reh, an attorney for Beretta USA, said O'Malley's bill has "raised a serious level of concern within the company."

The portion of the company located in the United States is headquartered in Accokeek, MD. The company expects to pay $31 million in taxes over the period of 1994 to 2014 and employee about 400 people, according to Reh.

"We're not confronted with a state that wants to ban the product we make," said Reh.

A number of law enforcement officials and states attorneys testified in favor of the bill.

"We have to be able to agree that there needs to be a line between the reasonable rights of gun owners and the right of the public to be safe," said Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

Shellenberger's office is responsible for the prosecution of Robert Gladden Jr., a student at Perry Hall High School who is charged with a shooting inside the cafeteria on the first day of school.

Gladden is accused of using a shotgun in that incident where one student, Daniel Borowy, was shot but Shellenberger said could have been much worse.

"There was a handgun that had 10 bullets in it and [Gladden] desired that weapon but could not get it because it was under lock and key," said Shellenberger.

Additional Gun Legislation Coverage:

  • Current Maryland Gun Laws and Proposed Changes
  • Pro-Gun Protesters Rally Outside Maryland State House
Scott February 07, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Interesting...I was not playing. It is, in fact, exactly what it means and exactly how it was being used. If you are not willing to offer an alternative that actually makes sense contectually, then perhaps you should refrain from commenting at all.
Steve February 07, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Are you fluent in ancient Greek? Molon Labe is one of the funniest hoaxes I have seen since my boss's son had the Chinese ideogram for what he thought was "Bravery and Honor" tattooed on his arm. Years later he found out from a Chinese guy it really said "Pig F*&#^r"
Josephine Hlatki February 07, 2013 at 10:12 PM
I hear there were thousands there for this, not hundreds. Where do you get your information anyway?
Steve February 07, 2013 at 10:20 PM
LOL Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/06/gun-control-hearing-draws-hundreds-to-annapolis/
Steve February 07, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Wrong-o. It doesn't mean "come and get them"
f250 redneck February 07, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Who said anything about age or NASCAR Steve???
f250 redneck February 07, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Remember Steve knows all. HA HA HA
Steve February 08, 2013 at 12:10 AM
The Branch Dividians weren't a religion. They were a cult, JoeBlob.
Sanchez February 08, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Again Steve with your comments with no basis! I never said they "were a religion" did I? You have to continually impugn things on others that are not there. You are a disgusting person. You are racist bigoted intolerant and vile. An immoral human with no soul.
Sanchez February 08, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Yea Frank the Nagger, I said that didn't I? I love the smell of burning flesh as much as you do the ripping of a "just a fetus" from the womb. Another vile human.
Sanchez February 08, 2013 at 12:29 AM
jag, ask Obama and Holder why they don't charge more of them and asl them why they ENGAGED IN KNOWN straw purchases of thousands of "assault weapons" to the Sinola drug cartel.
Lorna D. Rudnikas February 08, 2013 at 01:49 AM
You and your cohorts are absolutely blinded by Fox News, aren't you honey child. You have Fox News on the brain everywhere you go. If it is something you feel doesn't fall in line with your beliefs...you disparaged folks anyway you think may work. Poor darling..you are wasting your time. I know, I know, you are of the mind that you can count on the media being not particularly astute when estimating numbers of dissatisfied citizens under these circumstances...wonder why?? Geez, hope it isn't a "team" effort!!
Terry February 09, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Laura M.: You are correct. Capitol police officers on duty tha day lost count at 3,000 in attendance throughout the day. Several Senaors made the statement that they have never seen so many people show up for a hearing. Frosh (sponsor and co-sponsor of several anti-gun bills) pulled up stakes and left well before the end and muttered something under his breath. He only represents himself, NOT his constituents or, in this case, We The People of Maryland! Most lawmakers we have in Annapolis have NO CLUE how to slow the murder rate. They are only pushing this crap so the government will gain control of the people, There is no doubt that they no longer work for We The People! That goes for the idiots in the District of Corruption, as well!
Steve February 09, 2013 at 10:26 PM
LOL "Lost count" C'mon Pinocchio your nose is growing. That crowd wasn't that big.
Terry February 09, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Gun control has never worked in this country and never will work in this country! Look at Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Miami and anyplace else that has, or had gun control and you will find that no matter what restriction are put on the law-abiding people, the criminal element will ALWAYS have guns. They buy stolen guns on the streets, back alleys and from gun smugglers and commit burglaries to steal guns. Politicians have no clue how to truly slow down the murder rate. They only want control over the people. If the politicians really wanted to do something beneficial for law-abiding, legal citizens of the USA, they should do more research, other than a knee-jerk reaction to murders! If they would, they would find out that nearly EVERY ONE OF THE MASS MURDERERS HAD SERIOUS MENTAL PROBLEMS! MOST were known to have these conditions PRIOR to the killings. Without going into more details, untold lives would be saved if politicians expended their energy in the right direction instead of trying to take control of law abiding citizens' lives! If an armed intruder broke into YOUR home and you were forced to give up YOUR guns, what would you do, ask the bad guys to hand you their guns then sit down and have a soda while you call 9-11? Sorry to say but, you and anyone else in the house would most likely be killed. Think about it!
Steve February 09, 2013 at 10:37 PM
They aren't using the literal translation. It doesn't say what they think it says. Therin lies the joke. How many time do I have to explain this before you get it through your coconut?
Dave A. February 24, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Ok well so is the first so let's close down the media that plays on ratings rather then what the real news is. Sensationalization of the news is what drives our laws in this country, not common sense!
JCWatson February 28, 2013 at 08:56 PM
DId you actually contend that we have no right to self defense from the government when you cited the Waco Massacre? Would you give the government carte blanche?
ItsGarand March 07, 2013 at 01:46 PM
I was there as well. There were over 3000 people in attendance. People were packed in the mall from street to street.
ItsGarand March 07, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Opponents held a large rally that filled Lawyer's Mall next to the governor's residence and the Maryland State House before the hearing. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/06/gun-control-hearing-draws-hundreds-to-annapolis/#ixzz2MrU8IkjG
CP March 07, 2013 at 02:03 PM
In other news DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP) to go with their 1.6 billion bullets!
Katie March 07, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Steve - I work there. There were 5000 or more. Once you start housing people in the hallways, waiting rooms, etc., they kind of disappear. The whole scenario was intense. I don't work for Fox News, didn't know they had a different math methodology, and no Steve. No one is exaggerating.
jeffrey fiske March 07, 2013 at 11:24 PM
we are a government of the people by the people for the people. The civil war was one result of people "defending" themselves from the government. I would not recommend that as method to change a government policy. as a practical matter all legal guns would be irrelevant in an armed conflict with the government. you can only "defend" yourself from the government by participating in the democratic process and influencing the make up and policies of government.
jeffrey fiske March 07, 2013 at 11:33 PM
gun control works very well in europe, japan and australia. when the constitution was adopted guns were one of the most lethal weapons available, now a days they hardly rate in organized armed conflict. far far more lethal weapons are available to governments or large organizations such that guns only determine the balance of power on a small interpersonal scale. They deserve no special constitutional consideration, they should be regulated just like any other dangerous technology.
Sanchez March 07, 2013 at 11:38 PM
"gun control works very well in europe, japan" "The Japanese word for suicide is “ji-satsu” which literally means “kill oneself.” Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world. According to the World Health Organization, 23.8 Japanese out every 100,000 commit suicide every year, double the rate in the United States, two and half times higher than Singapore or Hong Kong and four times higher than Britain. In the Group of Eight, only Russia has a higher suicide rate (39.4 suicides per 100,000 people). " http://factsanddetails.com/japan.php?itemid=639
Sanchez March 07, 2013 at 11:41 PM
"In 2011, the number of people who committed suicide in Japan was 30,513 according to the health ministry" "In 2009, the number of suicides was 32,753, the fifth highest of all time" "In 2003, there was a record 34,427 suicides. This works out to almost 90 a day. Common suicide methods include jumping in front of trains, leaping from buildings, hanging oneself, and carbon monoxide poisoning" Who needs guns to kill yourself?
Sanchez March 07, 2013 at 11:44 PM
"now a days they hardly rate in organized armed conflict." What does that mean to the debate of the 2nd amendment? All "firearms in common use" at the time are protected according to Heller in 2008. There IS indeed "special constitutional consideration" in the written decision.
Chris W March 08, 2013 at 10:58 AM
"and had they not engaged in armed resistance they'd be alive today." The same could be said of many of the patriots that gave their lives at bunker hill and many other times during the revolution. Some men are not sheep willing to be led to slaughter.
Chris W March 08, 2013 at 11:04 AM
Steve stamps his feet. No. No. No. Steve is not interested in the truth, but in framing the debate on-line. He is likely a paid Obamabot.
Chris W March 08, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Once again Steve is right and everyone else is wrong.

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