Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley Wants a Gun-Owner Fingerprint Database

O'Malley's proposed gun-control legislation won't be an easy sell in the context of the national debate — or his potential run for president in 2016.

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The Governor of Maryland plans to introduce a comprehensive package of proposals designed to curb gun violence, according to a handful of anonymous aides who spoke to the Washington Post. Martin O'Malley, who was elected in 2007 and expects to be as prominent a Democratic presidential contender in 2016 as fellow gun-control hawk Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has written up legislation that, if enacted, would ban assault weapons and — perhaps most significantly — require all new gun owners to submit to a fingerprint database, in order to contain the illicit distribution of guns via so-called "straw purchases":

Vincent DeMarco, a Maryland-based public-health advocate and gun-control activist, said the sort of licensing system that O’Malley is proposing can significantly curb “straw purchases” — the buying of a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing one. [...]

“It really is the most effective tool a state can use to reduce gun deaths,” DeMarco said. “I’m thrilled Governor O’Malley is proposing this. Straw purchases is the way criminals get guns.”

There are a few other components to the proposal, such as endowing police with the authority to confiscate guns from the mentally impaired. The bill won't be an easy sell in any case, especially in the context of the national debate over gun vioelnce. (Consider the controversy over the assault weapon ban proposed by Cuomo in the blue state of New York.) But among the various schemes to reduce gun violence — e.g., giving guns to teachers, placing armed guards in public schools, teaching children to bum-rush shooters, having janitors throw their buckets at shooters — O'Malley's appears to be one of the most serious put forth by a state legislator, even as Vice President Biden's national proposals seem to show a coalescing on issues like background checks. O'Malley's push has already earned him the ire of Maryland Republicans, one of whom deemed the proposal a work of political stagecraft:

“This looks like crass opportunism from politicians who want gun control,” said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert) ... “The reality is Martin O’Malley is trying to get to the left of [New York Governor Andrew Cuomo] because he wants to run for president in 2016,” O’Donnell said.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.