Gun control bill wins easy passage in Senate Limits on purchases expected to clear House

March 27, 1996|By Frank Langfitt | Frank Langfitt,SUN STAFF

A roll call in yesterday's editions failed to point out that state Sen. Delores G. Kelley, who did not vote on the governor's gun control bill, was excused from voting to attend to a legal matter. The Baltimore County Democrat was a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The Sun regrets the error.

In the legislative equivalent of a rout, Gov. Parris N. Glendening's gun control bill continued to roll through the Maryland General Assembly yesterday, easily passing the Senate by a vote of 30 to 16.

The bill, which would limit handgun purchases to one per person per month, was approved after only 40 minutes of debate and hTC token resistance.


"I was surprised at the margin," said Richard M. Willis, executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, a gun control lobbying group. Mr. Willis said he had expected a closer vote.

With Senate approval, the measure heads into the final leg of its journey through the State House. If it passes the House of Delegates later this week as expected, it is almost certain to become law.

The proposal is aimed at making it harder for people to buy weapons in bulk and then sell them to criminals. If the measure is enacted, Maryland would join Virginia and South Carolina as the only states to limit handgun purchases.

The bill also would require a criminal background check and seven-day waiting period for people who buy handguns from other private individuals. Maryland does not now regulate private firearm sales.

Yesterday's debate in the Senate was anticlimactic given the passions that gun control usually inspires in the General Assembly. Opponents urged fellow legislators to vote against the bill, but acknowledged that their words wouldn't make much difference.

"I know we can't defeat this bill," said Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat.

Some senators from rural areas said the measure was another step toward disarming all Marylanders and an eventual slide into totalitarianism. Others argued that if the state limits residents' right to purchase weapons, then it should permit them to carry concealed handguns to protect themselves.

"I think it's time the good guys be allowed to shoot back," said Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson, a Carroll County Republican.

Conspicuously absent from the debate was the man who made it possible, Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Walter M. Baker. As head of the Senate panel that handles gun control legislation, Mr. Baker often has engineered the defeat of such bills in other years.

In a turnaround this session, Senator Baker embraced parts of the governor's bill and shepherded them through his committee, surprising many in the State House and angering many gun rights advocates.

During the debate, though, Mr. Baker, a Cecil County Democrat, did not speak. He sat slumped in his high-backed chair with his chin resting on his hand and appeared to stare at the floor.

Pub Date: 3/27/96

Roll Call

The Maryland Senate voted 30-16 yesterday to approve the governor's gun control bill, which still faces a vote in the House of Delegates. Here is how senators voted. Those voting "yes" sought to pass the bill; those voting "no" sought to kill it.

Voting "Yes":

Astle, John C., D-Anne Arundel

Baker, Walter M., D-Cecil

Blount, Clarence W., D-Baltimore

Boozer, F. Vernon, R-Baltimore County

Cade, John A., R-Anne Arundel

Currie, Ulysses, D-Prince George's

Della, George W. Jr., D-Baltimore

Dorman, Arthur, D-Prince George's

Forehand, Jennie M., D-Montgomery

Frosh, Brian E., D-Montgomery

Green, Leo E., D-Prince George's

Hoffman, Barbara A., D-Baltimore

Hogan, Patrick J., R-Montgomery

Hollinger, Paula C., D-Baltimore County

Hughes, Ralph M., D-Baltimore

Kasemeyer, Edward J., D-Howard

Lawlah, Gloria, D-Prince George's

Madden, Martin G., R-Howard

McFadden, Nathaniel J., D-Baltimore

Middlebrooks, Edward, R-Anne Arundel

Miller, Thomas V. Mike Jr., D-Prince George's

Pica, John A. Jr., D-Baltimore

Pinsky, Paul G., D-Prince George's

Roesser, Jean W., R-Montgomery

Ruben, Ida G., D-Montgomery

Sfikas, Perry, D-Baltimore

Teitlebaum, Leonard H., D-Montgomery

Trotter, Decatur, D-Prince George's

Van Hollen, Christopher, D-Montgomery

Young, Larry, D-Baltimore

Voting "No"

Amoss, William H., D-Harford

Bromwell, Thomas L., D-Baltimore County

Colburn, Richard, R-Dorchester

Collins, Michael J., D-Baltimore County

Craig, David, R-Harford

Derr, John W., R-Frederick

Dyson, Roy, D-St. Mary's

Ferguson, Timothy R., R-Carroll

Hafer, John, R-Allegany

Haines, Larry E., R-Carroll

Jimeno, Philip, D-Anne Arundel

McCabe, Christopher, R-Howard

Middleton, Thomas M., D-Charles

Munson, Donald F., R-Washington

Stoltzfus, J. Lowell, R-Somerset

Stone, Norman R., D-Baltimore County

Not Voting

Kelley, Delores G., D-Baltimore County

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