Governor Martin O’Malley and liberal Democrats in Maryland want gun licensing, but more conservative legislatures are more cautious.
O’Malley’s legislation would make Maryland the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to require gun buyers to submit to digital fingerprinting to obtain a license to purchase a firearm. Researchers in the handful of states that now have similar requirements have tied them to a reduction in so-called straw purchases, which is when someone buys a gun on behalf of another who would not qualify to do so.
“I think there’s a concern that the spirit of Newtown — that resolve — is already beginning to slip away,” said Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery). “The time to act is now.”
Raskin is among the cadre of Democrats urging members of his party in the Maryland General Assembly to consider O’Malley’s proposal as a starting point to be innovative and to rethink gun control as much as the Constitution will allow. One bill would require gun buyers to obtain insurance on firearms to cover accidental discharge. Another would require gun owners to report a lost or stolen firearm to police within 24 hours.