O'Malley outlines public safety priorities

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) -  

Just days after President Obama unveiled wide-ranging proposals aimed at cutting gun violence, Governor O'Malley released his gun control package in Annapolis.

In many ways it's more expansive than the president's federal proposal.

At a news conference on Friday, the governor said efforts to cut down on gun violence have been going on since before the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

But he says some of the proposals are aimed at making a similar attack less likely in to happen in Maryland.

"The risk will never go away but it is possible that we can prevent another tragedy like this from happening," he said.

The governor is calling for a reduction in the size of magazines for semi-automatic weapons; right now, magazines sold in Maryland can hold 20 bullets; the governor wants that to go down to 10.

And he is calling for fingerprints, background checks and other licensing procedures for anyone who buys a gun in Maryland.

"If you have to get a license to drive a car on the streets, or a motorcycle on the streets, I think most Marylanders -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents agree that you should have to be licensed in order to operate a firearm," he said.

Republican Sen. E-J Pipkin told ABC-2 News that proposal reminds him of the repressive "poll taxes" that used to be used to keep poor and often African-Americans from voting.

"The only people that are going to be able to afford guns in the state of Maryland are going to be rich people who have the money and time to comply with this," he said.

Del. Pat McDonough said he'll introduce his own legislation that would eliminate parole and probation for anyone convicted of gun crimes and increase the use of the death penalty, which the governor is attempting to eliminate during this session.

"Politicians ought to stop grandstanding and misleading people with simplistic solutions that don't work, and go after the criminals and go after the monsters that do these things," he said.

The governor's package of bills are also aimed at improving mental health services -- and improving security at the entrances to schools in Maryland.

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