O’Malley says transportation needs work

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Martin O’Malley used most of a review session with reporters yesterday to discuss responses to last week’s shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, but he said transportation remains a persistent concern in the state.

Maryland, he said, won’t ease traffic congestion or attract more people to public transit, until officials make the necessary investments.

O’Malley said Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. may serve as a catalyst for Maryland lawmakers to tighten the state’s gun laws, especially those governing assault weapons.

“What I sense is there is a greater willingness among those who in the past felt that gun control measures were not as effective as some other things that we could be doing,” he said.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery County, said he and other lawmakers plan to announce on Wednesday a package of gun control legislation, including a bill to restrict availability of assault weapons. He said he supports stricter enforcement on illicit gun sellers and a limit on the number of rounds in gun magazines. He said legislators who in the past had resisted gun control efforts have told him that they’d be willing to revisit the issue now.

O’Malley used Tuesday’s discussion to review what he said were some of the state’s accomplishments or achievements, including the creation of more than 35,500 private sector jobs in the last 12 months, a nearly 25 percent reduction in violent crime since 2006 and the highest-ever math and reading scores by the state’s elementary school students on the Maryland School Assessment tests.

Maryland this year also legalized same-sex marriage, and though O’Malley’s support for the measure was seen as critical to the passage, he said neither he nor his wife — a state judge — had plans to preside over any upcoming nuptials.

“The last time my wife officiated at a wedding, ‘She said I’ll never do that again. It was way too stressful,’” he said.

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