The Maryland Senate [official website] on Thursday gave final approval to a bill [text] that imposes tougher restrictions on obtaining a license to buy a firearm and bans certain types of rifles. Scheduled to go into effect October 1 of this year, the new law will limit magazines to 10 bullets and will ban 45 types of semiautomatic rifles. The law also introduces a stricter licensing process that will require fingerprinting, passing classroom and range training and undergoing more extensive background checks. The bill received initial senate approval [JURIST report] last month. The bill will now proceed to Governor Martin O'Malley for approval. O'Malley has publicly supported the bill [press release] and is expected to sign the legislation soon.
The Newtown, Connecticut shooting [WSJ backgrounder] sparked a national gun control debate [JURIST comment]. Also Thursday Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed [JURIST report] a comprehensive gun control bill into law, placing new limits on the sale of firearms. Last month, President Barack Obama urged [JURIST report] Congress to pass three bills which would require background checks for all private gun sales, renew a grant to improve schools security programs and make the act of buying a weapon for someone barred from owning one a federal crime. Also last month, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed [JURIST report] three bills mandating background checks for gun transfers and prohibiting the sale of large magazines. Earlier in March, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] spoke before Congress [JURIST report] urging passage of gun control measures, including universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines and military style assault weapons. In January Obama signed 23 executive orders [JURIST report] intended to strengthen existing gun laws and urged congress to take up gun control measures.