- Associated Press - Monday, January 14, 2013

BALTIMORE — Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said Monday he will propose a ban on military-style assault weapons and stricter licensing requirements as part of a sweeping package of legislation aimed at preventing school violence.

Mr. O'Malley detailed his plan at a summit on reducing gun violence, where New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg also urged reforms on a federal level, including tougher background checks.

The summit was held one month to the day after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead. It was also held the same day that President Obama said he was reviewing options for a federal gun-control bill.

The two-day summit featured a variety of specialists and authorities at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is named after the mayor, a Johns Hopkins alumnus.

“This will be a comprehensive legislative package to prevent gun violence, and it addresses not only the guns, but also mental health and school safety,” Mr. O'Malley said of the proposal he will be pushing in Maryland.

Mr. O'Malley said his proposal for Maryland’s legislative session, which began last week, will ban military assault weapons “that have no place on the streets of Baltimore or on any other neighborhood in our state.”

“And we’ll also limit the size of magazines in order to make it harder for criminals to gun down in succession police officers or schoolchildren,” the governor said.

The proposal also will include a licensing requirement for handguns. Mr. O'Malley didn’t offer specifics, but said it would respect the traditions of hunters and sportsmen.

The Democratic governor’s proposals often find favor in the state’s heavily Democratic legislature.

Vincent DeMarco, the national coordinator of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, said he hoped the governor would include a requirement that gun buyers submit fingerprints to state police.

Mr. O'Malley also said he wants to improve the state’s mental health services as a way to prevent violence, and set aside money in the state’s capital schools budget for school safety.

The governor planned to provide more details when he rolls out his legislative agenda on Friday. Mr. O'Malley emphasized that his plan doesn’t seek to ban all guns.

“At the same time, we know that it makes absolutely no sense, when you look at the level of carnage on our streets from guns, to blame every factor but guns,” Mr. O'Malley said.

Mr. Bloomberg, for his part, urged Mr. Obama and Congress to increase background-check requirements for firearms purchases. He also said the federal government needs to get tougher on gun trafficking.

“Every state in the union has citizens killed by guns coming from another state, and every state is powerless to stop the mayhem,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

Story Continues →