Gun Advocates Target Annapolis; O'Malley Set to Push for Restrictions before Senate Committee
Byline: David Hill, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will urge state lawmakers on Wednesday to pass legislation requiring residents to obtain a license before purchasing a handgun, but Second Amendment advocates hope to drown out his message.
Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, will testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in favor of his bill, which would also ban assault weapons, limit magazine capacities to 10 rounds and require prospective gun buyers to complete a safety course and pay a $100 application fee.
However, gun-rights advocates will descend upon Annapolis to rally against a bill that they say tramples on gun owners' rights and won't stop criminals who carry illegal guns.
The overriding problem with the governor's bill is that it does little to address the bad guys with the guns, said Delegate Michael D. Smigiel Sr., Cecil Republican, who said rally organizers are expecting 1,000 to 3,000 people. It deals with ways of curtailing law-abiding citizens from being able to exercise their full Second Amendment rights.
Mr. O'Malley proposed his legislation last month in an effort to fight gun violence and prevent incidents similar to last year's deadly shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo.
While requiring a permit to carry a handgun in public is the norm throughout most of the U.S., only nine states currently require a license or permit to purchase a handgun, according to Johns Hopkins University's Center for Gun Policy and Research.
Maryland would join Connecticut and Iowa as states that require applicants to also provide fingerprints and give state officials authority to reject applications.
Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have authority to reject applications but don't require fingerprinting, while Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and North Carolina require licenses, but have no authority to reject applications.
Supporters cite studies showing that license-to-purchase laws in these states have decreased illegal straw purchases and gun trafficking.
We lose too many American lives to gun violence, Mr. …