Maryland lawmakers passed a ban on sales of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, a step sought by Governor Martin O’Malley in response to the December school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
The measure passed 78-61 by the House of Delegates would also impose new licensing requirements for handgun buyers and bar the mentally ill from owning firearms. The state Senate, which already approved the bill, must consider it again because of changes made in the House.
Final passage would add Maryland to a growing list of states tightening gun controls following the murder of 20 youngsters and six educators Dec. 14 in Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. New York passed a law in January, Colorado followed and legislative leaders in Connecticut reached an accord on new steps this week. Enactment also would give a win to O’Malley, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender.
The Maryland measure would ban several types of semiautomatic rifles and handguns and limit magazine capacity to 10 cartridges. It also would require pistol-permit applicants to take a gun-safety course and give the state police their fingerprints.
The legislative session ends on April 8, so the Senate must act on the bill by then for it to become law this year. If enacted, it wouldn’t go into effect until Oct. 1, and it would allow owners of banned weapons to keep them.
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