Gun debate takes center stage in Annapolis

The debate over guns in America took center stage in Annapolis Tuesday. Those looking to protect current gun laws showed up by the thousands to protest the plan by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to limit current rights.

The rally unfolded in front of the Maryland State House, but this time they didn’t share the protest stage with anyone.

Raymond Bryant, a retired police officer from Brooklyn Park, Maryland, says “This is not about public safety. This is about taking guns away from people.”

He’s a gun collector who fears the guns he owns will not be legal under new state laws.

Right now, the bill being considered would ban assault weapons and clips that hold more than 10 rounds. It would also require a background check, training, fingerprinting, and licensing of the gun buyer.

The Governor’s bill would also make gun sales illegal to those who have been involuntarily committed for a mental illness.

“We’re talking about basic civil rights,” says Cliff Jones, another gun collector.

“I’m just not a firm believer that someone can arbitrarily say what I need as a law abiding citizen.”

Nina Sturgeon wanted people to know where politicians stood on the issue.

“It seems like our government, locally and nationally, is trying to take away our basic rights,” she says.

But in downtown Annapolis, there’s a different view of the issue.

“Shotguns and rifles and regular firearms I think are OK, but anything like military guns, no, those are dangerous.”

Organizer John Josselyn says Tuesday’s protest is a repeat of Friday’s. After the rally, those who attended walked over to the House of Delegates to talk to elected officials and many planned to stay to give testimony at an afternoon hearing.

Last time, so many people stayed behind to testify that the hearing, which started at noon, did not end until 4 a.m. the next day.