Busch, other Maryland leaders to promote new gun law that takes effect next month


Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) leads his chamber in the Pledge of Allegiance in 2011. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
September 17, 2013

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and other supporters of Maryland’s sweeping new gun-control law plan to appear in Baltimore on Tuesday to promote the strict licensing requirements and other provisions that take effect next month.

The event, which was planned well in advance of the rampage at Washington Navy Yard on Monday, will also serve as the kickoff of a radio ad campaign that argues that the fingerprint background checks required for handgun purchases will save lives in Maryland.

“In the final analysis, I don’t believe this legislation limits any Second Amendment rights,” Busch said in an interview Monday. “Hopefully, it’s going to make our streets safer.”

The new law, which was championed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), also bans the sale of 45 models of assault weapons and prohibits the sale of gun magazines with more than 10 bullets. It also expands the category of people prohibited from possessing guns for mental health reasons.

The legislation overcame fierce resistance from pro-gun-rights lawmakers this year and has drawn the threat of a lawsuit from opponents.

Busch is scheduled to be joined at Tuesday’s news conference by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery).

Frosh said Monday’s shootings in the District underscore the need for sensible gun control.

“None of us yet really understand the full story of what happened in D.C.,” said Frosh, a candidate next year for attorney general in Maryland. “But it’s clear whoever did the shooting shouldn’t have had a gun.”

The new law also includes a measure pushed by Frosh that gives the Maryland State Police new regulatory powers over gun dealers.

The ad campaign is sponsored by Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that lobbied for the legislation.

The 60-second spots, which are airing in the Baltimore market, feature a bishop, a hunter, a police chief and a mother, all making the case that background checks involving fingerprinting are a sensible solution that should be a national model.

Vincent DeMarco, president of the advocacy group, said he hopes the ads will raise awareness of the new law and help make it part of the conversation in next year’s elections, in which all 188 seats in the General Assembly will be on the ballot.

DeMarco said he also hopes surrounding states will adopt similar provisions, which could cut down on the number of illegal guns coming into Maryland.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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