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Maryland AG candidates push for gun control, abortion rights

Maryland_state_house.jpg

The U.S. Supreme Court decisions to overturn Roe v. Wade restricting abortion in more than a dozen states and removing permits for concealed carry firearms prompted an uproar from Democrats running for political office across Maryland.

Candidates Katie Curran O’Malley and Anthony Brown are vying for the Democratic nomination in mid-July to become Maryland’s next state Attorney General.

The 50-year-old law enabling abortion access nationwide was struck down by the Supreme Court on Friday in a 6 to 3 split but remains legal in Maryland according to state law.

O’Malley said reproductive rights are important for the state to protect and women are best suited for the job.

“I'm tired of men saying they want to protect our rights [as women],” she told a crowd on Friday afternoon. “We don't need to be protected here in Maryland, we need to be elected, not just in Maryland, but all across our country, more women need to be in places of power where these decisions are being made.”

Katie Curran O'Malley
Zshekinah Collier
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Katie Curran O'Malley is running to become Maryland's next attorney general.

Brown, who is running against O’Malley, concurred on the sentiment of abortion rights in Maryland.

“We must be a safe haven for all seeking reproductive services,” Brown said on Twitter after the Supreme Court ruling.

Brown is pushing for Roe v. Wade protections to be codified in Congress and promised to keep fighting for Maryland’s law on the books.

“Action is required now,” he said.

O’Malley said the abortion ruling was a gut punch to the 3.5 million women and girls across the country. After the draft leak in early May, many anticipated the court's opinion, but were still shocked by the news.

“I was stunned. I was saddened. I lived through the 50s. And I don't want to go back,” said Shirley Jenkins, a Baltimore resident. “But it feels like we’re going back.”

This week with a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court also struck down a New York gun law that required people to have proper cause in order to obtain a license to carry a gun in public. The court’s opinion will make it easier for people across the country to conceal a weapon in public and argued that the New York Law goes against the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

President Biden has called on states to make more strict gun laws and protect abortion rights.

Candidate O’Malley wants to see guns “severely restricted” by narrowly defining sensitive locations where guns are permitted as a safety measure.

“We know where these horrible, tragic occasions occur. It happens in movie theaters, churches, grocery stores, offices of governments, and courthouses,” she said. “So we need to get those laws codified and quickly so that we can make sure that these individuals aren't wearing and carrying weapons anywhere in public.”

O’Malley’s gun control plan is to enable victims to hold gun manufacturers and sellers accountable for crimes committed by firearms, require liability insurance, impose strict background checks and expand Baltimore’s Safe Streets programs.

And she’s not alone.

“Marylanders are tired of violence and tired of the guns,” Brown said on Twitter. “We should tighten where concealed carry permits are allowed next legislative session and defend our current gun laws.”

Zshekinah Collier is WYPR’s 2022-2023 Report for America Corps Member, where she covers Education.
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