ANNAPOLIS, Md. - After eight hours of debate, two House committees voted in favor of the bill to restrict gun control. But the 27-18 vote came with controversy.
“What I saw was them take people into a back room and whip their votes and then come back out and declare they needed a revote, and they revoted and failed the amendment,” said Cynthia Firman, who came from Howard County to watch the debate.
An amendment that would have required gun offenders to serve their full prison sentence failed after passing the first time. Delegate Shawn Tarrant says he changed his answer. Republicans call it whipping.
“They just turned around and pressured someone to change their vote and then took away something that would have been in the bill, and the only thing that would have been in that bill that punishes bad guys with guns was in that amendment,” said Delegate Michael Smigiel, (R) Cecil County
Two House committees joined together for an all-day debate. They considered the Senate version of the Bill that would limit assault weapons to 10 rounds and mandate a licensing requirement for handgun buyers.
The bill also prohibits anyone with mental illness who has been committed involuntarily from owning a firearm.
Under the changes, someone with a Probation Before Judgment would not be able to get a gun. Everything to modify the ban on assault rifles was defeated.
“It keeps the streets safer because often times someone who has a PBJ finds themselves in trouble down the road,” said Delegate Shawn Tarrant, Baltimore City.
The House will take up the debate on Monday, but it's not over after that. Since the bill was amended, it will have to go back to the Senate floor.
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