Gun bill passes the Senate

Bill is a top priority for Governor O'Malley

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) - Update: The gun bill has passed through the Senate by a vote of 28 to 19.  

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We could see a vote on the bill in the State Senate as early as today, on Governor O'Malley's gun violence bill.

The governor proposed the legislation after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

But the vast majority of shootings in Maryland involve handguns -- not assault rifles.

Still, on Wednesday dozens of school children from some of the toughest neighborhoods in Baltimore gathered at the Carmelo Anthony Center in East Baltimore, in support of the bill.

"Their families, friends and their own eyes have borne witness to acts of gun violence long before the tragedy in Newtown," said Ejaz Baluch, a teacher from Connexions School for the Arts.

Dawnya Johnson, a 16 year old from East Baltimore says finding a gun in her neighborhood is no problem.  "15 minutes tops, you know," she said.

The bill's supporters say the licensing requirement would address that – by cracking down on "straw purchases" by people with clean records, who then sell the guns to criminals.

Opponents say having to get a license to buy a gun is a violation of the Second Amendment.

Eric Senior of West Baltimore took a bullet to the leg during a robbery back in 2004.

More than eight years later, he's still feeling the effects.

"I don't trust anybody around my children," he said.  "I don't let them do anything without me being there."

He spoke in favor of the bill at the event, but even he says he's not sure it will solve Baltimore City's problem:  "Nobody's buying guns from gun shops," he said.  "They're buying them off the street so they don't need an I-D you don't need to have a clean record.  They don't care; as long as you have cash, you can buy a gun."

Dawnya Johnson says at least it's a start.  "Martin Luther King didn't just march to Washington and stand up there and say, 'Well we shouldn't all be racist.'  It was a process," she said.

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