Committee kills bill to ban 'Dragon's Breath' shotgun shells

March 31, 1992|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Annapolis Bureau Laura Lippman of the Annapolis Bureau contributed to this ** article.

ANNAPOLIS -- Lawmen who want to ban "Dragon's Breath" incendiary shotgun shells will have to wait another year.

The House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly killed a bill yesterday that would have banned the incendiary ammunition, which is sold under the trademark Dragon's Breath and touted by suppliers as being able to turn shotguns into virtual flamethrowers.

The delegates who voted against the Senate bill said they believed that the legislation was poorly drafted, could inadvertently apply to other ammunition and could open them up to requests to ban other types of ammunition.

Several opponents also cited a Sun article in which a reporter tested the ammunition and declared it to be "more poop than pop."

The story "kind of made a laughingstock of the bill," said Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr., D-Prince George's. "The article made light of this allegedly ferocious projectile," said Del. Gerry L. Brewster, a Baltimore County Democrat who nonetheless wanted to ban the incendiary ammunition.

"I just couldn't think of a legitimate purpose for a flamethrower-projective shell in a shotgun," Mr. Brewster said.

"I fear for our police officers if some of the wrong people get access to those shells," he said.

The bill's sponsor, Baltimore County Democratic Sen. Janice Piccinini, said she was stunned by the bill's defeat in the House committee yesterday.

"I did not expect this kind of vote. It's unfortunate. It's a serious bill. Other than the bad press, all I can think is that we're in the final days, there's not a lot of time for hearings," she said.

Today in Annapolis

10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.

1 p.m.: Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee considers House bill calling for study of Montgomery County higher education needs, Room 200, Senate Office Building.

1 p.m.: Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee considers House bill involving the rights of crime victims and witnesses, Room 300, Senate Office Building.

There are seven days remaining in the 1992 General Assembly session.

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