ANNAPOLIS -- Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse wants this year's candidates for president to take a stand against assault rifles and for a proposal to require a five-day waiting period before purchase of a handgun.
In a letter to the two major Republican and five major Democratic contenders, the organization observed that 20,000 Americans are killed with handguns every year. Many more are injured.
"As a candidate you must take a stand to reduce this carnage," the organization said in a letter signed by Vincent DeMarco, chairman.
The letter asks candidates if they support the proposed ban on manufacture and sale of semiautomatic assault weapons such as the Uzi and the AK-47. It also asks candidates if they support the Brady Bill, named for former presidential press secretary James Brady, who was seriously wounded during an assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan.
The Brady Bill would require a waiting period to determine if the purchaser is a criminal or is otherwise prohibited from purchasing a handgun.
Mr. DeMarco said Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse is "disappointed that President Bush has not banned domestic manufacture of assault rifles, but we hope he'll change his mind. We hope he will look at this questionnaire and realize these weapons have no legitimate use."
"We want the voters of Maryland to know absolutely how the candidates stand on these issues," he said. A news conference is to be held Feb. 24, just before the March 3 Maryland primary, to announce the results.
If a candidate does not respond, Mr. DeMarco said, the organization will attempt to learn his position from his voting record or newspaper accounts.
So far, one of the Democratic candidates, Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, has responded to the organization's request. Senator Kerrey wrote to say he supports the assault rifle ban and the five-day waiting period, Mr. DeMarco said.
Today in Annapolis
10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.
1 p.m.: Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and House Appropriations Committee will hold hearings on tax bills, Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Building.
1 p.m.: Senate Finance Committee will hear eight bills aimed at tightening regulations for the insurance industry.
There are 69 days remaining in the 1992 General Assembly session.