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Gun Control Bill Passes in Maryland House of Delegates

The governor's gun control bill passed in the Maryland House of Delegates Wednesday evening. 

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Governor Martin O'Malley's gun control bill passed in the Maryland House of Delegates Wednesday evening with a 78-to-61 vote.

 

Delegate Galen Clagett (D), of Frederick County, was the only Western Maryland lawmaker to vote for the bill.

 

The clock ticked away and cups of coffee lined desks for a seven-hour heated debate on gun control.

 

Tempers flared as opponents and the committee handling the bill presented several dozen amendments.

 

One of them would have allowed military members under 21 to have certain types of rifles.

 

"That's offensive. It's offensive the way we treat our military, people that we ask to go fight overseas, die, we give them important responsibilities and then they come back to this country, and they can't even use the weapons they want to use to go to ranges and stuff like that," says Del. Michael Hough, (R) - Frederick & Washington Counties.

 

Clagett thinks the gun control bill is a matter of safety. It would ban assault weapons, limit magazines to 10 bullets, and require owners to get a license.

 

"I've been a hunter since I was 12 years old," Clagett says. "I own lots of guns. I still hunt, and it's a passion for me, but preventing violence is also a passion for me."

 

Delegate Neil Parrott, chairman of MDpetitions.com, got several referendums on the ballot last year. He says he's considering organizing another petition drive against the gun control bill.

 

"One of the things that I find most hideous in the bill is that to say that you have to have a license in order to have a firearm, but you don't license what is a right given to us in the bill of rights," says Parrott, (R) - Washington County.

 

"It's not unusual for the Constitution to have constraints on our rights. We're not taking them. We're trying to control and direct them," Clagett says.

The bill the Maryland House passed is different from the Maryland Senate version, so it must go back to the senate for a vote.

If the senate doesn't agree on the house bill, both bills will need to go to a conference room.

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