[JURIST] The Maryland Senate [official website] on Thursday approved a gun control bill [SB 281 materials] that imposes tougher restrictions on obtaining a license to buy a firearm. The Senate voted 28-19 [materials] in favor of the bill that would require residents to submit to fingerprinting, training and background checks in order to secure a firearm license. The Senate bill would also ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than ten bullets. The bill also places restrictions on gun ownership based on mental health, banning firearm purchases for anyone who was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for any period of time, and imposing some restrictions on individuals who voluntarily commit themselves to such facilities.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting [WSJ backgrounder], the gun control debate [JURIST comment] has been at the center of attention in Washington, DC, and state capitols across the nation. In mid-January, on the one-month anniversary of the Newtown shooting, US President Barack Obama [official website] announced his signing of 23 executive orders [JURIST report] intended to strengthen existing gun laws, as well as urging Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. Just the day before, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [official website] signed legislation [JURIST report] intended to impose tighter restrictions on gun and ammunition sales, banning any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds and implementing instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of sale.