O’Malley said Tuesday that he is likely to propose legislation that could include a ban on assault rifles and other gun-control measures, as well as proposals for mental-health and school safety legislation.
“I think we have too many guns, and I think we have too much killing,” O’Malley told reporters at the statehouse, saying he and state lawmakers are asking “what more can we do.”
O’Malley stressed that his plans are “very much a work in progress,” adding that he senses a strong will among legislators to take action in the 90-day session that will start Jan. 9.
“I think there’s been a change of heart and a greater open-mindedness in the wake of the murder of the innocent in Connecticut for people to take a look at especially assault weapons,” said O’Malley, who has long favored reinstating the federal assault-rifle ban that lapsed in 2004. “You look at some of these guns, and it’s just hard to conclude that these guns should be in the hands of anyone who isn’t a soldier on a battlefield or a law enforcement officer sent into a tactical situation.”
O’Malley acknowledged that a ban on assault rifles like the one the Connecticut shooter used would be “a lot more effective on the national level.” But he said that Maryland lawmakers should consider a similar prohibition and that he would “absolutely” sign a ban if it reached his desk.
O’Malley also said state officials should consider limiting “the huge magazine clips” of the kind the Connecticut shooter used.
In addition to gun-control measures, O’Malley said his administration is exploring issues such as the appropriate level of sharing of mental-health information and standards for school safety, which he said have been mostly left to local school boards in Maryland.
In Virginia, McDonnell has asked Education Secretary Laura Fornash and Public Safety Secretary Marla Graff Decker to review recently submitted school safety audits with superintendents. He ordered the creation of a task force — made up of educators, public safety experts, legislators and others — to review school safety and make legislative and budget proposals to address any safety needs.
And he announced the creation of a position within the Department of Criminal Justice Services: the school and campus safety coordinator.