Last-Minute Deal Moves Gun Measure
Hyslop, Margie, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
ANNAPOLIS - An 11th-hour deal struck in negotiations yesterday averted what had been expected to be a prolonged, bitter battle on the Senate floor over Gov. Parris N. Glendening's gun-control bill.
Now the stage is set for the Senate to vote Monday on the Glendening bill that would require all handguns sold in Maryland to have integrated locks. The House of Delegates will vote on the legislation later in the week.
On Thursday, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Democrat who represents parts of Prince George's, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties, resorted to extraordinary measures to wrest the legislation out of committee and onto the floor for action.
The latest compromise differs little from one lawmakers struck Wednesday , in which Mr. Glendening, Democrat, agreed to support a less ambitious package that eliminated his call for a mandate for personalized "smart guns" but preserved most of the provisions of his plan.
Aside from adding two engineers to the panel that can forbid any handgun from being sold in Maryland, the filibuster-dodging compromise netted little for opponents of Mr. Glendening's gun-control plan, which would make Maryland the first state in the nation to require built-in locks on all new handguns sold.
But Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson, Frederick and Carroll counties' Republican, said putting professional engineers on the Handgun Roster Board would ensure that no citizen would be left relying on a faulty gun that wouldn't work in a life threatening situation.
"It's still a bill I can't vote for, but we'll be able to preserve some liberties in advancing safety features," Mr. Ferguson said.
Senate lawmakers also amended the bill to allow any Maryland-based gun dealer or manufacturer to sell handguns without the integrated locks to a buyer outside the state. Beretta USA based in Mr. Miller's district, is the only major gun manufacturer in the state. …