In the weeks since the shooting in Newtown, Conn., Gov. Martin O’Malley has repeatedly referred to gun violence as a “public health issue.” On Monday he announced a plan that would give Maryland one of the nation’s strictest gun laws, reports the Baltimore Sun. To own a handgun, residents would need to pass a training course and provide fingerprints to a police database, and Maryland would ban the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
How was the proposal received and how might this impact O’Malley’s prospects in a national election? Donald F. Norris, professor and chairman of UMBC’s Department of Public Policy, notes, “This appeals to the Democratic base,” continuing, “If he can get out in front on this and show some success legislatively on this, it bodes well for him in the Democratic primary.” The Sun reports O’Malley aides have dismissed the notion that the gun proposal signals his presidential aspirations.