It could be the ultimate compromise among the gun control bills submitted in the General Assembly this year.
At least that's the opinion of Harford County state Delegate James M. Harkins, R-District 35A.
Harkins has introduced a bill that would affect anyone convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, another state or theDistrict of Columbia governing controlled dangerous substances.
Under the proposed law, convicted felons would be prohibited from owning, carrying, possessing or transporting a firearm, including antiquefirearms, rifles, pistols and revolvers. A violation of the law would carry a penalty of a fine of not more than $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
Harkins, who describes himself as a sporstman and hunter, said he drafted the bill with the help of Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly.
The delegate, who introduced the bill Wednesday, discussed his bill at the weekly county delegation meeting Thursday.
He asked Harford's four other delegates and Sen. Habern W. Freeman, D-District 34, to support the bill during thedelegation's weekly meeting in Annapolis. Sen. William H. Amoss, D-District was absent.
"I'm not a gun control nut," said Harkins, whois on a 90-day leave of absence from his job as a Harford County sheriff's deputy to fulfill his obligations in the General Assembly.
"But we've got to take guns out of the hands of the criminals. The National Rifle Association has said it's definitely going to support this bill. It may well be the compromise bill in all the gun control legislation. It may be the one to vote for if you feel you have to votefor a gun control bill.
"It may fail. Maybe I'm all wet here. I am new," said Harkins. "But if it passes I know it will do some good. That's why I'm here. At least it's a step in the right direction. We've got to take the guns out of the hands of criminals."
Other actions taken by Harford legislators last week:
* Matching bills were introduced in the House of Delegates and state Senate seeking a statebond issue for $300,000. The money would help pay for a new buildingat the Harford Equestrian Center for use during the Harford County Farm Fair.
* Delegate Mary Louise Preis, D-District 34, has scheduled a meeting this week with Governor William Donald Schaefer to follow up on a request from Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann.
Preis said she will ask Schaefer to support the Harford delegation's request that $100,000 be returned to the state Higher Education Commission's budget for next year. That money, to be used to help pay administrative and start-up costs for a weekend college program in Harford, was cut from the proposed budget in the first round of budget cuts.
Rehrmann had asked Harford's state legislators to use their influence to secure the money for the program. The weekend college, to be run by a four-year university or college with classes held on Harford Community College's campus, is part of the Higher Education and Applied Technology Center project, slated to be built in Aberdeen.