Md. Assembly pass gun-control bill
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's already-strong gun laws will become among the strictest in the nation with a measure passed by the General Assembly Thursday, sending the bill to the Democratic governor who proposed the legislation in the aftermath of December's massacre at a Newtown, Conn., school.
The state Senate voted 28-19 for final passage, agreeing to a number of changes the House of Delegates approved Wednesday.
Maryland will become the first state in nearly 20 years to require people who buy a handgun to submit fingerprints to state police. Only five other states have a similar requirement: Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.
Gun-control advocates say the fingerprinting requirement will help keep guns away from criminals, because it will make people reluctant to buy guns for people who are not allowed to have them. Opponents say the bill erodes Second Amendment rights and ultimately penalizes law-abiding citizens without focusing on lawbreakers.
The measure also bans 45 types of assault weapons, although people who own them now will be able to keep them. People who order the weapons before Oct. 1, when the law would take effect, also would be able to keep them.