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O'Malley promises gun control legislation in Md.

Monday - 1/14/2013, 6:36pm  ET

By BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press

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.

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

The summit was held exactly one month 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 Barack Obama said he was reviewing options for a federal gun control bill.

The two-day summit featured a variety of experts 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," O'Malley, a Democrat, said of the proposal he will be pushing in Maryland.

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 school children," the governor said.

The proposal also will include a licensing requirement for handguns. 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.

Delegate Anthony O'Donnell, the House Republican minority leader, questioned whether O'Malley's proposals would have prevented what happened in Newtown.

"To me, it feels like blatant gun-control envy now coming out in the wake of a horrible tragedy," O'Donnell, R-Calvert, adding that he believes the term-limited governor is trying to position himself to the left of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in pursuit of political ambitions in 2016.

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.

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. 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," O'Malley said.

Bloomberg, for his part, urged President Barack 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," Bloomberg said.

The mayor also said the federal government should limit assault weapons and magazines with more than 10 rounds.

The summit on gun violence at Johns Hopkins is scheduled for two days. A panel of experts is scheduled to make recommendations on Tuesday.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)