Compromise offered on gun ban measure

General Assembly

February 12, 2004|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN STAFF

Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr., the swing vote on a proposal to ban 45 assault weapons beginning when the federal ban expires this year, is offering middle ground between legalizing the firearms and banning them outright.

His idea: enact an identical state version of the federal ban on 19 semiautomatic weapons.

A Democrat representing Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, Giannetti called his proposal "a reasonable compromise."

Giannetti said that he offered the amendment to the proposed ban after learning at a packed hearing this week that both the Fraternal Order of Police and the Maryland State Police opposed the bill .

"That surprised me," he said, and prompted him to poll sheriffs in his jurisdiction for their thoughts on banning the weapons.

The bill, and a House version, are supported by more than 70 lawmakers. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee could vote on the matter as early as today.

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