Gun control proponents won two major legislative victories yesterday as Maryland and Connecticut passed strict new measures to vet purchases of firearms. Meanwhile, President Obama, touring Colorado, made his appeal to the public for gun control proposals facing opposition in Congress. Below is The Post’s coverage of the national debate this week.
The new bill, proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, bans some assault weapons, including the AR-15, and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, among other provisions:
Amid the wave of legislative efforts nationally, Maryland’s is the only package whose new requirements would force gun buyers to provide fingerprints and undergo classroom training, target practice and background checks to obtain a license to buy a firearm. . .
Maryland would join five states — Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey — in requiring fingerprinting of gun buyers. It also would join seven states and the District in banning a wide array of assault weapons. . .
Marylanders would not need to get a license to buy hunting rifles and shotguns.
The state Senate is expected to approve the bill.
Connecticut | In response to Newtown school shooting
The legislation adds more than 100 firearms to the state’s assault weapons ban and creates what officials have called the nation’s first dangerous weapon offender registry as well as eligibility rules for buying ammunition. Some parts of the bill would take effect immediately after Malloy’s signature, including background checks for all firearms sales.
President Obama | Bid to regain momentum
Obama’s choice to appear in a state that has experienced two of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history — the 1999 killings at Columbine High School and last summer’s attack at a movie theater in Aurora — added symbolic weight to the event.
More than 100 days after 20 children and six adults were killed at a school in Newtown, Conn., public opinion polls show a drop-off in support for the initiatives, and some gun-control advocates have said they fear that time is running out for the administration.
The Fix | Obama’s second-term challenges
Obama has put his political capital behind an effort to press Congress to pass tighter gun restrictions in the wake of a deadly school shooting late last year in Newtown, Connecticut. His plea for action Wednesday came as the push to expand background checks faces an uncertain future, despite widespread support from the public. And advocates’ hopes to ban assault-style weapons have been all but dashed.
And that’s just in the Senate, which Democrats control. The GOP-controlled House, which has stonewalled much of Obama’s legislative agenda, will be an even harder sell for gun-control advocates.
Surveys show broad support spans gun owners and non-gun owners alike, Democrats and Republicans, and even among members of the National Rifle Association, whose leadership is leading efforts to spike the measure from pending legislation.
Glenn Kessler says both politicians have been distorting the facts to support their opposing arguments in the debate.
For more news about guns from earlier this week, continue reading here.