Gun rights supporters again flock to Annapolis

by Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun  |  published on March 7, 2013

Hundreds of pro-gun activists again swarmed Annapolis on Tuesday in hopes of turning the tide against gun control.

Polls show that banning assault weapons and requiring a license to buy a handgun have broad support among Marylanders, but gun rights supporters such as Jerry Carey have three times flocked to the state capital to urge defeat of those proposals and others.

“My wife tells me I should quit this and go back to work,” said Carey, a self-employed 68-year-old from Frederick who attended the latest gun rights rally Tuesday. “I can’t. This is more important.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s sweeping gun control bill would give Maryland one of the strictest gun laws in the country. Until the governor made that proposal, Carey had visited the capital just once, back in the 1970s. Tuesday, during Carey’s third visit this year, he distributed fliers for a new “Marylanders Defending the 2nd Amendment” political action committee.

O’Malley’s bill has already passed the Maryland Senate by a wide margin. A House of Delegates committee is expected to vote on the measure next week.

At Tuesday’s rally outside the State House, cheers went up as the National Rifle Association’s chief Annapolis lobbyist, Shannon Alford, told the crowd, “We’re going to do this all day long, all session long, until someone listens.”

John Balazek, 48, was among those in the crowd who says he doubts the gun rights rallies will be enough to sway enough lawmakers to defeat the bill. “The fix is in,” said Balazek, a sheet metal worker from La Plata. “But this proves they are governing against the will of the people.”

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