Vincent DeMarco, executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, used the support of state law enforcement officials yesterday to ask Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey to reconsider the organization's gun control plan.
"Parris Glendening has endorsed this proposal. Ellen Sauerbrey has not," Mr. DeMarco said. "It's not too late for Ellen Sauerbrey to do so."
The plan -- which many state law enforcement officials endorsed yesterday at Baltimore's police headquarters -- includes proposals to license, fingerprint and test handgun buyers, to regulate private sales and to restrict the number of commercial sales to an individual.
Many of the plan's details will not be made final until the next General Assembly session, but the law enforcement officials, including Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, are firmly in favor of it.
"The first question is, 'Is it worth it,' and I think that it is," Mr. Frazier said.
Mrs. Sauerbrey, minority leader of the House of Delegates, advocates enforcing existing gun laws, officials in her campaign said.
"There are gun laws on the books that no one pays any attention to," said Carol L. Hirschburg, the Republican candidate's communications director. "Then, when people are caught under these laws, their sentence is plea-bargained away or their sentence is paroled."
Yesterday's public show of support by law enforcement officials for the gun control plan won't change Mrs. Sauerbrey's position, Ms. Hirschburg said.
"She has been consistent with her viewpoint for her entire political career," the aide said. "Criminals are the problem. We have to enforce the laws that we already have."
Campaign officials for Mr. Glendening, the Democratic nominee, took issue with Mrs. Sauerbrey's position, pointing out that she voted against the state ban on assault pistols this year.
"She's got a 16-year career of voting against making our streets safer," said David Seldin, Mr. Glendening's press secretary.
The support of law enforcement officials has convinced Mr. Glendening that by favoring gun control, he is on the right side of the issue, Mr. Seldin said.
"We are very happy to be in a race where we have the National Rifle Association supporting our opponent and every police association supporting ours," he said.