O’Malley says on national TV that assault weapons ‘play no purpose in a civil society’

December 19, 2012

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley spoke out more forcefully Wednesday about the need for more gun control, arguing on a national talk show that assault weapons “play no purpose in a civil society.”

“It’s ridiculous,” O’Malley (D) said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “There is no other civilized nation on the planet that allows combat military weapons to be proliferated throughout our society as much as we do, and there are very few societies that bury as many children year after year after year from gun violence.”

O’Malley was booked on the show a day after telling reporters in Annapolis that he is likely to sponsor legislation in the coming session of the General Assembly in response to last week’s school shootings in Connecticut. He offered few details.

The governor’s largely measured tones Tuesday were replaced Wednesday by more impassioned rhetoric.

“There is no reason why we should have military assault weapons any place but on the battlefield,” O’Malley, who is weighing a bid for national office in 2016, told host Chris Matthews.

O’Malley recalled his days as mayor of Baltimore, when he said he would order police officers to retrieve assault weapons from the homes of criminals.

“For [the police officers’] safety, if only for their safety, we need responsible bans and controls on these military, combat assault weapons,” O’Malley said. “They play no purpose in a civil society.”

Matthews asked whether violent movies should be banned. O’Malley said there are other steps that can be taken.

“What you can do is put sensible restrictions in place so that people who are suffering from mental illnesses ... just can’t go in and get assault weapons as easily as they can go buy a pizza.”

O’Malley said “we’ve all been changed” by the Newtown shootings.

“We find it too easy as a country to accept one child being shot here in a city, one child being shot there,” he said. “Events like this make us wake up.”

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