Gun control advocates to rally at State House this evening

January 17, 1994|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

More than 100 county residents and leaders are expected to travel to Annapolis today to join thousands of Marylanders in a rally supporting comprehensive gun control legislation.

"It's very important to make a statement to the legislature that citizens want some effort of ending violence, which is a major concern," said Rabbi Martin Siegel of the Columbia Jewish Congregation and vice president for the Howard County Clergy for Social Justice.

Supported by Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, a statewide lobbying group, the proposal would ban assault rifles and require handgun owners to get renewable licenses and undergo a state police background check.

"It's an idea whose time has come," said Suzanne S. Waller, co-chair of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse Howard County and a member of the county clergy group coordinating the local county's rally efforts. "People are tired of crime and want to do whatever it takes to reduce violent crime."

Locally, at least four members of the county's state delegation, several County Council members and dozens of local clergy support the proposal. They join a coalition of 150 groups across the state, including the NAACP and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, who also support the proposal.

Two bus loads of county gun control supporters and supporters in cars will leave at 4:30 p.m. today from The Meeting House in Oakland Mills to attend the 6:30 p.m. rally outside the State House.

Participants will carry signs and posters during the hourlong rally as the legislature meets inside. They also will turn in petitions. Ms. Waller said county clergy alone have collected 500 signatures.

Mr. Martin, president of the county clergy group, said supporters also will write to their legislators in support of the proposal.

"Getting control of the guns will help us take guns off the streets," Mr. Martin said.

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