Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 18, 2013

Area officials not likely to back firearm restrictions

CUMBERLAND — Gov. Martin O’Malley unveiled in broad terms Friday his legislative wish list to reduce gun violence, but the part dealing with firearm restrictions is not likely to get much political support from far Western Maryland.

Besides dealing with firearms and their delivery systems, the proposal would create new centers that deal with school protection and mental health intervention.

“Today, we’re putting forward a comprehensive set of public safety initiatives that will improve the safety at our schools, make meaningful mental health reforms and enact common-sense gun safety measures like banning military-style assault weapons and limiting high-capacity magazines,” O’Malley said during a Statehouse announcement that is available online.

As at the federal level, gun control legislation was brought to the forefront by the murder of 20 school children and six of their teachers in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Included in legislation that is still in draft form will be the requirement for a license, including fingerprinting, for the purchase of handguns. Seven states, including Connecticut, already require fingerprinting.

A license would not be required to purchase shotguns or sporting rifles, according to information supplied by the governor’s office.

Military-style assault weapons would be illegal and magazine capacity would be decreased from 20 to 10.

People moving into Maryland would be required to register their guns within a certain time. It is unclear at this time if that would apply to all guns.

“Guns don’t jump up and work on their own,” said Sen. George Edwards. “Chicago has the most strict gun laws on the books and look what is still going on there,” he added, referring to gun violence in that city. “In countries like Japan, Germany and England, where people can’t own guns, only the criminals have them.”

Edwards said the governor’s budget proposal for $25 million to increase school security with cameras, bullet-proof glass and restricted entrance makes sense.

“Banks and a lot of other places do that,” he said.

Delegate Kevin Kelly, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, said he will vote against these proposals once they are formally presented. He called the language dealing with firearms “outrageous and absurd.”

Kelly said he anticipates that the licensing restrictions could be interpreted to be needed for the purchase of ammunition as well as handguns.

Kelly questions the understanding of many of his fellow representatives when it comes to firearms.

“You can purchase a rifle that looks like a military weapon, but functions only as a semiautomatic rifle that is used for hunting,” he said, wondering how many firearms could be outlawed under such a plan.

“It’s fact. It’s logic. The only people affected by gun control are the people who lawfully own firearms and use them in responsible ways,” Kelly said.

O’Malley’s proposal would strive to have the same private mental health information that is available to federal officials made available to state government as well.

Mental health intervention and crisis response would be expanded.

For example, mental health professionals would respond with police officers to the appropriate emergencies.

A Center for Excellence on Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness would be established.

The Associated Press reports that O’Malley will seek to renew a DNA sample collection law for those charged with violent crimes and burglary.

Maryland’s highest court has ruled the existing law unconstitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

Delegate LeRoy Myers Jr. said the state is on the right track in that something needs to be done, but is concerned that there is an overemphasis on the gun issue. “We have to be careful not to take away our Second Amendment rights that we hold near and dear,” he said.

“We have to police ourselves,” Myers said. “You wouldn’t leave a loaded gun on a table where a child could reach it and we have to be aware not to leave loaded guns in homes where we have unstable individuals.”

Myers said he favors armed police officers outside schools. “If there are not enough available for each school, have a roving group that will be at one school or another. The bad guys won’t know where the officers will be.”

Delegate Wendell Beitzel said O’Malley’s proposal clearly goes well beyond that of any other governor in the nation.

“It will have tough sledding in the General Assembly, though I think there is a good chance some form of legislation will make it through.”

Beitzel, who is the co-chairman of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, said if semiautomatic rifles are made illegal he will no longer be able to hunt deer in Garrett County with the .30-06 he has used most of his adult life.

The delegate believes the deinstitutionalization of mental health patients who are on strong medications can be a danger to the community.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at

Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing