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Annapolis Wrap for Friday, January 18th, 2013
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January 18, 2013
This week in Annapolis ended as it began with the spot light on gun control measures proposed in both Maryland and Washington in response to the Connecticut massacre. WYPR’s News Director Joel McCord discusses the proposal with Karen Hosler, WYPR’s State House correspondent.
Joel McCord: Karen, I know Governor O’Malley and President Obama are both seeking a ban on military style assault weapons and large ammunition clips. Are their proposals essentially the same?
Karen Hosler: Well, in those respect, in that repsect they are. But the Maryland bill is actually tougher. Besides the ban on assault weapons and ammunition clips, uh, it demands that gun buyers get finger--all gun buyers get fingerprinted to obtain a license. And then there's other licensing requirements. So it's, it's kinda tough. Here’s what O’Malley had to say about it:
Governor Martin O'Malley: If you have to get a license to drive a car on the street, or a motor cycle on the street, I think most Marylanders--Democrats, Republicans, and Independents--agree that you should have to be licensed in order to operate a firearm.
McCord: Reports from Washington say Obama’s bills don’t have much of a chance even in the Democrat-controlled Senate. What’s the point of imposing restrictions in Maryland if gun buyers can simply go to another state?
Hosler: Well, you know, there are some folks who believe that our ambitious governor is simply seeking the limelight. But here’s what he said in answer to that question:
O'Malley: Certainly it would be best if we can do it on the national basis but we can also save lives by implementing it on a state basis as we work for a national solution.
McCord: Ok, now what about trying to keep guns away from people with a history of mental illness? We've been hearing a lot about that.
Hosler: Both the governor and the president would make it easier for police agencies to share that kind of such information. But Delegate Dan Morhaim, who as you know has spent much of his career as an emergency room doctor, says it’s very hard to predict human behavior.
Maryland State Delegate Dan Morhaim: I think there are other steps that are equally important or more important to reduce gun violence. Most of the gun violence in the greater Baltimore region happens because of addiction issues. And then the mental health system in general needs strengthening whether there’s any threat of violence or not.
McCord: So, what are the odds of success for the O’Malley gun bill?
Hosler: Well, he does have the advantage, unlike Obama, of a large Democratic majority, but that licensing requirement could really be a challenge. E.J. Pipkin, the Senate Republican leader, says it’s too burdensome for poor people.
State Senator E.J. Pipkin: At the end of the day, the governor’s proposal just means that rich people will have guns.
Hosler: I guess that makes it an equal opportunity issue.
McCord: Ok, Karen, thank you very much.
Hosler: Oh, you're welcome.
McCord: I'm Joel McCord, with Karen Hosler, our Statehouse Correspondent, for 88.1 WYPR.
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