- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Democrats on Wednesday introduced a package of three gun-control measures as part of their legislative priorities, aiming to build on the state’s sweeping 2013 weapons ban that recently was challenged by a federal court.

One measure would ban guns on all college campuses in the state. Another would bar state police from issuing gun permits to anyone on the federal no-fly list.

The third measure would mandate courts to inform persons convicted of domestic violence to surrender their guns to a federally licensed firearms dealer or to local police within 48 hours of being convicted. It also would establish a mandatory five-year prison sentence for anyone found with a gun after being convicted of domestic violence.

Democrats hailed the measures as life-saving and as building on the 2013 Firearms Safety Act, which banned certain military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, among other things. That provision of the law was deemed potentially unconstitutional by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, and send back to a district court in Baltimore for reconsideration.

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said he is not concerned about the challenge to the Firearms Safety Act, adding that the bills introduced Wednesday will “withstand legal challenges.”

“Three other circuits … have held the same types of laws to be constitutional. The Fourth Circuit is out of step with the country,” Mr. Frosh said.

He said the state would either appeal to the entire Fourth Circuit court or take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Either way, we think we’ll be successful,” he said.

Sen. James C. Rosapepe, Prince George’s County Democrat, said Republicans had labeled unconstitutional the idea of preventing anyone on the terrorist watch list from owning a gun, but no list is perfect.

“You’ve got to balance the safety and security of the people of the United States, and the reality is, terrorism is real, it’s here and if you’re too dangerous to get on an airplane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun. It’s not more complicated than that,” Mr. Rosapepe said.

Republican leaders said they had not yet read the bills, but if constitutional issues are sorted out, they would be open to talk about them.

“The devil’s in the details,” Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings said. “On the domestic violence side, without a doubt, that’s one of the most horrible things that you hear a domestic violence case that has gone to that point where somebody has actually murdered an individual with a firearm. So that one, I have no problem looking at, let’s talk about it.”

The Baltimore County Republican also said he could support the no-fly list gun ban as long as the state ensures it isn’t easy to get someone on the list just because “they don’t like somebody.”

Democratic leaders said these are “common sense measures” that are widely supported by Marylanders.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch said that whether lawmakers are Republican or Democrat, they would listen to their constituencies and Marylanders are asking for increased gun control.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he couldn’t foresee Republican Gov. Larry Hogan opposing any of the bills.

“The person he’s joined at the hip with is [Governor] Chris Christie, in New Jersey, and Chris Christie signed the same bill into law, the no-fly zone, and no guns on campus is common sense,” Mr. Miller said. “And the domestic violence, that’s already the law, we just want judges to enforce it, so hopefully he’ll sign all three.”



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