O’Malley said this week that there likely would be several new bills in the upcoming Maryland General Assembly session that would deal with the prevalence of assault rifles, the issue of mental health and gun ownership, and school safety, the Associated Press reported.
President Obama said Wednesday that his office will soon unveil a set of measures in an attempt to control gun violence in the aftermath of the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school last week while Maryland state senators Brian Frosh, Bill Ferguson, Jamie Raskin and Lisa Gladden, who are all Democrats, announced a legislative package that proposes new requirements for gun dealers, new criteria for those seeking handgun permits and a ban on assault weapons, according to the AP.
Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, and chairman of the county delegation, said it was time to sit back and have a conversation about the various issues at play.
“Like everyone else, I am deeply troubled by this heinous incident,” Serafini said.
Serafini stressed the issue of how Maryland deals with those with mental health problems.
“We have decided to treat those with mental health problems through our correctional facilities,” he said.
Serafini said he believed in the Second Amendment and states’ rights.
“We have to make sure that not another parent or a child has to go through this. This is a conversation we have to have and I’m open to ideas,” he said.
When it came to school security, Serafini said he was not excited about the thought of teachers handling weapons. “The question is how far do we go?”
Some of the governor’s tentative proposals seemed to have the support of Sen. Ronald N. Young, a Democrat who represents Frederick and Washington counties.
Young said he would have no problems supporting a bill that would take “high-powered” rifles off the market.
“These guns have only one purpose; they are made for killing. I always support people having guns to protect their homes. But, frankly, some of these high-powered rifles seem unnecessary.”
Young said guns should be registered, and those owning guns should know how to use them. “I know a lot of gun owners who do not mind reasonable constraints,” he said.
“From what I have read, it seems this school (in Connecticut) was as secure as possible. This person shot his way in ... you cannot have a system that is 100 percent foolproof.”
But legislating in Maryland won’t be enough, Young said.
“That’s where Washington D.C. has to step in,” he said.
Two Republican legislators who represent Washington County — Sen. Christopher Shank and Del. Neil Parrott — said it was too early to discuss in detail the issues that were at stake.
“We are still in a period of mourning. I think we would all be better off if we gave this more thought and fashion a comprehensive response,” Shank said.