Maryland House approves gun-control bill - New York News

Maryland House approves gun-control bill

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -

New, get tough gun control measures are one step closer to passing in Maryland.

The House of Delegates on Wednesday passed its version of Governor Martin O'Malley's Firearms Safety Act of 2013.

While he admits there is no way to eliminate the risk of a tragedy like the one in Newtown, Conn., O'Malley says the legislation is a step in the right direction.

After heated wrangling over amendments, the House approved the plan by a vote of 78 to 61.

"I think the significant part of this bill is advanced training for those who want to buy handguns,” says House Speaker Michael Busch. “I think the fact that includes licenses and fingerprints for those who want to purchase handguns will limit the amount of straw purchases that take place in the state and the amount of handgun violence that is prevalent particularly in our urban areas.”

The Senate approved a similar version of the Firearm Safety Act in February. It limits ammunition magazines to ten and bans more than 40 types of assault weapons -- including the AR-15. That is the gun Adam Lanza used in the shooting at Sandy Hook.

House Minority Leader Tony O'Donnell says the bill missed the mark.

"I voted against the bill because I think, one -- it's a false hope,” he says. “Two, it's designed to further the political ambitions of this governor. And three, it will do little to stem or reduce gun violence in the state.”

O'Donnell says he wishes his colleagues in the House had taken a tougher stance on the mental health issues and school safety.

Del. C.T. Wilson says a lot more focus should have been on handgun restrictions.

"I thought the bill was very onerous on legal gun owners,” Wilson says. “It misses the mark and does little to change the gun culture in our communities.”

The bill now goes back to the Senate. It can pass it in its current form or try to strike a compromise with House delegates.

Time is of the essence. The legislative session ends Monday.

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