Morning Read: O’Malley To Unveil Gun-Control Package

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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to announce his gun-control package later this week, and an early glimpse of his proposals indicates that he’s pushing some of the most aggressive measures in the country.

Administration officials described the proposals Sunday, according to the Washington Post, and among the most controversial measures is one that would require prospective gun owners to provide fingerprints to state police, complete a weapon-familiarization and gun-safety course and submit a background check in order to obtain a license.

Currently only people getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon must provide fingerprints, but under O’Malley’s proposal, all prospective gun owners, except those purchasing hunting rifles and shotguns, would be subject to digital fingerprinting.

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A buyer eligible for a license would still have to complete the already existing steps to obtain a gun permit, which includes a second background check and a week-long waiting period before receiving the weapon.

O’Malley’s plan would also restrict access to weapons for the mentally ill by allowing police to remove weapons from state residents who are mentally incompetent and allowing authorities to ban guns from psychiatric patients under civil commitment if they are thought to be a danger to themselves or others.

As expected, O’Malley is also seeking an assault weapon ban. For schools, he proposes to spend $25 million this year to beef up security at public schools, which would go to purchase video surveillance, automatically locking doors and secure entrance systems.

The Post reports that O’Malley will give a preview of his measures today when he introduces New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) at a summit in Baltimore on reducing gun violence. He will officially present the package to the General Assembly when he introduces the rest of his legislative agenda.

A new poll coming out of the state shows that Marylanders overwhelmingly support an assault weapon ban, 62 to 35 percent.


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