Gun control returns to center stage in Maryland House

by Aaron C. Davis, Washington Post  |  published on March 28, 2013

Past a deadline to move hundreds of bills, Maryland’s House of Delegates turned its attention back to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s sweeping gun-control legislation on Tuesday.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) was expected to meet before the end of the day with Democratic leaders of the House Judiciary Committee, who have said publicly that they would like to limit the scope of O’Malley’s proposed assault-weapons ban, possibly to exclude many semiautomatic rifles.

Lawmakers from both parties said they were also struggling with whether to go along with the Democratic governor’s proposal to limit the capacity of firearm magazines and clips to 10 bullets.

Busch remains strongly in favor of the 10-bullet limit and a ban on all assault rifles. In pressing his case Tuesday, he was joined by members of the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action and other gun-control activists. Dozens of women, some with children in tow, amassed outside the State House and sought to corner members of the House Judiciary Committee to urge a “yes” vote on O’Malley’s plan.

In one ominous exchange for advocates, an aide to Del. Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore), a member of the committee, warned them to be happy with incremental progress.

“I know you are worried about a watered-down version of the bill, that there are amendments that will take out the teeth,” said Pat Bruce, Anderson’s chief of staff. “Something is better than nothing, and if you can’t get everything you want this year, then there is always next year.”

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