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Administration lobbies for gun control bill

With Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gun control bill apparently in danger of being watered down by a House of Delegates committee, O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown are imploring voters to call their delegates to urge approval of legislation that contains what would be some of the nation’s toughest gun laws.

Brown held a press conference outside the State House on Thursday morning, flanked by state’s attorneys and law enforcement, during which he urged the House to take favorable action on the the bill, which has already been passed by the Senate.

O’Malley, meanwhile, appealed to supporters through his O’Say Can You See Political Action Committee, saying lawmakers were considering stripping a measure in the legislation that would ban some semiautomatic rifles.

“According to recent news reports, some members of the Maryland House of Delegates are trying to water down the ban on assault weapons,” O’Malley wrote. “They want to continue allowing the sale of weapons like the Bushmaster M-4 Carbine and the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle in Maryland. These weapons are similar to the ones that were used in the mass shootings in Newtown and Aurora, and by the Beltway Sniper.

“We need this common sense ban. Please call your Delegate and urge him or her to SUPPORT the Assault Weapons Ban in the Firearms Safety Act of 2013.”

O’Malley’s bill, identified as the administration’s top priority during this legislative session, would require handgun owners to provide their fingerprints, complete training and obtain a license while banning so-called assault weapons, such as the popular AR-15 rifle.

Thousands have descended upon Annapolis in the last several months to protest the bill, which some say tramples on Second Amendment rights.

(File Photo: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown)