Repeal of Gun Laws Unlikely; Ehrlich's Efforts Face Resistance
Byline: S.A. Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Maryland legislators say attempts by Republican Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to alter the state's strict gun laws, such as the one taking effect today that could ban the sale of most new handguns, will encounter stiff resistance in the General Assembly.
In the Senate, Mr. Ehrlich's gun proposals would have to get past Sen. Brian E. Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceeding Committee. Mr. Frosh, Montgomery County Democrat, was a strong supporter of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's agenda that made Maryland one of the strictest gun-control states in the nation.
The toughest opposition in the House is expected from Delegate Joseph F. Vallario, a Southern Maryland Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He also is considered a supporter of Mr. Glendening's gun-control agenda.
House Speaker-elect Michael E. Busch, Annapolis Democrat, could also stop Mr. Ehrlich from making changes. He was a supporter of Mr. Glendening's gun-control initiatives and could use his high-ranking position to thwart proposed changes to the former governor's policies.
The fierce tenor of the gun-law debate was evident during the fall election campaign, when Mr. Ehrlich proposed reviewing the gun laws, then was lambasted by Democrats for being a pro-gun candidate intent on arming criminals.
Still, Mr. Ehrlich has not retreated from his plan to review the laws, including the ballistic-fingerprinting program, which has been criticized as ineffective and expensive.
"Governor Ehrlich will carefully review each gun law in Maryland to ensure that it is meeting its original intent," Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell said this week. He declined to discuss specific laws, citing the backlash during the campaign.
Mr. Busch said he thinks Mr. Ehrlich should review the laws, but said an attempt to repeal or substantially alter them would be met head-on by gun-control advocates in the General Assembly. …