Gun-control bill draws large crowds to Annapolis

Ralliers showed their support for gun control in Annapolis Friday morning. Photo: Brad Bell

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A gun-control measure in Maryland is drawing large crowds of supporters and opponents.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is pushing for the bill, spoke Friday in front of the Maryland State House to supporters of tighter gun laws.

Mosi Harrington, of Hyattsville, says six students have been killed in six months in Prince George's County by gun violence. She says the measure is a step forward in stopping violence.

Across the street, opponents filled an office building for the House of Delegates, where the bill is getting a hearing a day after the Senate approved it.

Doug Bigelow, of Hagerstown, said he came to Annapolis to speak out for his Second Amendment rights. He says he lives in a rural area and wants to be able to defend himself if necessary.

The bill bans assault weapons and clips that hold more than 10 rounds. It also will require a background check, training, fingerprinting and licensing of gun purchasers. The governor's bill also will forbid gun sales to anyone who has been involuntarily committed for a metal illness.

"We're not here only because of Newtown, we are here because of the lives lost to gun violence in all of our towns," O'Malley said.