Virginia and Maryland lawmakers to introduce gun proposals

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers on both sides of the gun debate say they will introduce proposals in the aftermath of the deadly Connecticut elementary school shooting.

Democratic Del. Joseph Morrissey said Wednesday he will introduce a bill to ban the sale of assault-style weapons and large capacity magazines. A federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, but several states have laws prohibiting them.

Republican Del. Bob Marshall says he is drafting legislation to allow school personnel trained in firearm use to bring guns to school.

"When you're in trouble, why do you call 911? You want someone with a gun to defend you," Marshall told ABC7. "I've got grandkids in public school in Virginia. I want someone there to defend them before the damage is done."

Marshall says under his bill schools could either have an armed police officer on campus during school hours, or they could have a teacher, principal or other employee who has been trained to use a gun.

He says it would be up to local districts whether to let the employee carry the gun on them or keep it locked away somewhere that could be accessed in an emergency.

Marshall says he believes mass shooters choose locations where they are unlikely to encounter anyone else who is armed.

"We basically have gun free zones which are magnets for malicious and deranged individuals," Marshall said.

Some parents ABC7 talked to in Marshall's home base of Prince William County agreed.

"Generally speaking most of the people that are doing these things are cowards, so if they had somebody to confront them, and stand up to them, most of the time they would back down," said father Kevin Kohlhaas of Bristow.

"I think that principals on down should be armed and trained...," said Marianne Kohlhaas.

But some are uncomfortable with the idea of a gun in every school -- especially if it's not a police officer carrying it.

"They could use it for the wrong reasons," said Stonewall Jackson High School student Kiana Bates. "I wouldn't feel comfortable with it."

"Honestly at the end of the day I don't see what it will solve," added her mother, Kisha.

Sen. Dave Marsden says he will introduce legislation to penalize gun owners who do not report the theft of their weapon or whose guns are used in a crime if they didn't take steps to prevent it.

Anti-gun measures have traditionally failed in the Virginia General Assembly.

In Maryland, a group of lawmakers has announced a series of gun control proposals, including one that would ban the possession or sale of assault weapons.

The legislative package, inspired by the massacre last week at a Connecticut elementary school, also includes proposals to add new requirements of gun dealers and new criteria for people seeking a handgun permit and to reduce the maximum capacity for ammunition in a detachable magazine. The legislation would also designate 45 specified firearms as "assault weapons."

The bills were announced at a news conference in Baltimore on Wednesday by state senators Brian Frosh, Bill Ferguson, Jamie Raskin and Lisa Gladden.

Gov. Martin O'Malley told reporters Tuesday that he also expects his administration to introduce bills to deal with gun violence.