State and federal politicians have been scrambling for the last few weeks to react to the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., with governors, congressmen and the president exploring new laws that might have prevented that tragic massacre. But today, Gov.
The details of Mr. O'Malley's proposal will be unveiled later this week, but he gave a preview while introducing New York
On Sunday, the governor's aides provided some specifics to the
Evidence from other states backs up the notion that such a law would reduce the diversion of handguns to criminals in Maryland.
In a 2009 paper published in the Journal of Urban Health, Mr. Webster and colleagues from Hopkins and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst write that cities with the lowest rates of intrastate gun trafficking were all in states with strong systems of gun sales accountability measures, and four of the top five included purchase permit requirements similar to those Mr. O'Malley is proposing.
The researchers found that strong dealer oversight, such as state-level auditing of gun dealers, was also a powerful deterrent to intrastate trafficking. Maryland does not allow such audits, but key lawmakers, including state Sen. Brian Frosh and Baltimore Mayor
The rest of the governor's package of gun legislation is also significant. He would seek a state-level ban on assault weapons and to limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, down from the present 20. He is proposing to invest more in school safety measures and
The governor's announcement comes a day before Vice President
That said, if Governor O'Malley had been interested merely in gaining what political points can be scored by focusing on gun control after Newtown, he could have gotten away with doing much less. As recently as last week, his public statements on the topic gave no indication that he intended to go so far as to propose a licensing system. To succeed in that effort will likely require all of his substantial powers of persuasion in the State House. But if the goal is prevent not only the next Newtown but also the next street corner murder in Baltimore, it is the right thing to do.