Maryland Bans Assault Weapons in Bill Signed by O’Malley

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a gun-control measure into law that bans new sales of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, and sets new permit requirements for handgun owners.

The restrictions signed today, which were sought by the Democratic governor and passed the legislature last month, would bar those with a history of mental illness from possessing firearms, and require handgun owners to obtain a license and submit fingerprints to the state police.

Maryland follows New York, Colorado and Connecticut in limiting firearms ownership after the killing of 20 students and six educators Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The action in those states contrasts with Washington, where President Barack Obama’s push for new gun regulations, including a ban on military-style assault weapons, has stalled in Congress amid opposition from gun-rights lobbyists.

The measures in Maryland will toughen what are already some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a San Francisco-based group that backs tighter limits on firearms.

The ban on assault weapons won’t affect existing gun owners, and businesses will be allowed to sell them until the law takes effect in October.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Selway in Washington at wselway@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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