Cumberland Times-News

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February 22, 2013

Md. gun control bill amended

Advocates pleased with changes

ANNAPOLIS — Changes to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gun control measure have made some concessions to owners. Still, supporters say the bill will make Maryland a top-tier state for strong weapons laws by requiring fingerprints from handgun owners and prohibiting people who have been involuntarily committed for mental health reasons from owning firearms.

Opponents are calling the legislation a significant setback to Second Amendment rights and are pledging to fight for greater changes when the bill reaches the Senate floor next week.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-4 for the bill with amendments just before midnight Thursday, after hours of wrangling, mostly over firearms access for the mentally ill. Senators strengthened a provision to prohibit gun ownership by anyone involuntarily committed for any duration. The senators did not reach an agreement to change current law that prohibits people from owning a gun if they are voluntarily in a mental facility for more than 30 days.

The committee lowered the gun licensing fee from $100 to $50. It also doubled the term of a license from five years to 10. Renewal will cost $20 instead of $100.  

“Nothing was lost of substance,” said Vincent DeMarco, the national coordinator of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.

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