O’Malley to lay out new gun-control legislation for Maryland

posted at 11:31 am on January 14, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The population in general might be fine with the nation’s current gun laws, but of course, individual states don’t necessarily have the kind of consensus-building problems that Congress faces in terms of enacting gun-control legislation, and New York isn’t the only state looking to move forward with aggressive new proposals. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has a predominantly Democratic legislature on his side in Annapolis, and is looking to introduce a package of strict new gun measures later this week, via WaPo:

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will seek to institute some of the nation’s strictest gun-licensing requirements, ban assault weapons and restrict visitor access to schools in one of the most expansive government responses sought to last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Perhaps most controversially, O’Malley (D) will ask the General Assembly to force prospective gun owners to provide fingerprints to state police, complete a hands-on weapon-familiarization and gun-safety course, and undergo a background check to be licensed. …

“This looks like crass opportunism from politicians who want gun control,” said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert), who would need to peel off support from several Democrats to derail O’Malley’s plans.

“The reality is Martin O’Malley is trying to get to the left of Cuomo in New York because he wants to run for president in 2016,” O’Donnell said.

O’Malley seems like one of the few viable sureties for the Democrats’ 2016 bench, so no doubt he’ll be looking to make a name for himself and at least keep up with possible rival New York Gov. Cuomo on that front.

Meanwhile, Biden is supposed to formally introduce his special task force’s gun-related findings and proposals this week as well, and while ideas like a revival on an assault-weapons ban would need Congressional approval, here’s a hint of some of the things they’re looking to achieve through executive administration only:

Nearly 80,000 Americans were denied guns in 2010, according to Justice Department data, because they lied or provided inaccurate information about their criminal histories on background-check forms. Yet only 44 of those people were charged with a crime.

The staggeringly low number of prosecutions for people who “lie and try,” as it is called by law enforcement officials, is being studied by the Obama administration as it considers measures to curb gun violence after the Connecticut elementary school shootings in December. …

In the face of those difficulties, the White House has said it is looking for actions it can take without Congressional approval. Increasing the number of prosecutions for lying on background-check forms is an effort that the administration can undertake largely on its own, in part by pressing federal prosecutors to pursue such cases. It is also one measure that both sides of the gun-control debate have agreed upon.

 


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