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Maryland AWB: The Next Assault- HB 1298

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The Flanking Movement;

SB 288 isn't quite dead yet... even though Senator Giannetti has indicated he won't vote for the bill, Senator Miller has indicated he might bring the billl to the floor through a seldom used loophole. This is how we got the Gun Safety Act of 2000... the one that requires all new handguns sold in Maryland to have an internal trigger lock.

The Direct Assault:

HB 1298 is the same bill except from the house side. Same firearm restrictions, THE SAME REGISTRATION OF SAID FIREARMS , just a better chance of this one getting to the floor; the bill has 70 sponsors, 9 of which are on the Judiciary Committee.*

This upcoming week, we need to get back in the trenches...more calls, more e-mails. This POS and several others (including HB 859 , SHALL ISSUE CCW status for Marylanders) are scheduled to be heard on 16 Mar 04. Anyone who can get to Annapolis is encouraged to attend the hearings. Will post info when it's available.

The members of the House Judiciary Committee:

Carmen Amedori ® - 3371


Curtis Anderson (D)* - 3291


Jill P. Carter (D) * - 3283


Katleen Dumais (D) * - 3052


Donald Dwyer ®... on our side - 3047


Ana Sol Gutierrez (D) * - 3181


W. Louis Hennessy ® - 3247


Kevin Kelly (D) (No e-mail available)

Susan C. Lee (D) * - 3019


Susan McComas ® - 3289


Herb McMillan ® - 3439


Pauline H. Menes (D) * - 3114


Anthony O'Donnell ® - 3314


Carol Petzold (D) * - 3001


Neil F. Quinter (D) * - 3246


Christopher Shank ® - 3447


Luiz Simmons (D) * - 3037


Theodore Sophocleus (D) - 3233


Robert Zirkin (D) * - 3342


Have at them, guys!


(All phone numbers in Annapolis are (410) 841- XXXX )

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Advocates reload on assault weapons ban


by Steven T. Dennis

Staff Writer

March 10, 2004

ANNAPOLIS -- In "The Princess Bride," friends of the tortured Westley turn to Miracle Max to bring him back to life.

"Your friend here is only mostly dead," Max says. "There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead."

The chief sponsors of legislation to ban assault weapons are hoping that with a little parliamentary magic, they can breathe new life into their mostly dead legislation. But the question is whether the Senate's version of Miracle Max -- President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. -- will go along with their resuscitation operation.

"It's going to come down to what the man with the red hair wants," said gun rights advocate and ban opponent Jim Purtilo in a reference to Miller (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach.

Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr. (D-Dist. 21) of Laurel appeared to doom the bill by announcing that he would cast the deciding vote against it in committee, but backers are considering a variety of strategies to get the bill before the full Senate.

"This is far, far from over," said Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Dist. 15) of Germantown, thumbing the Senate rule book as he plotted strategy with the House sponsor, Del. Neil F. Quinter (D-Dist. 13) of Columbia.

Quinter said they are looking at "a Chinese menu" of options.

Garagiola introduced two bills Monday that opponents see as clear attempts to bypass the Judicial Proceedings Committee. One bill would ban assault weapons in polling places and likely be assigned to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee; a second would impose a 10 percent "user fee" sales tax on assault weapons and would go to the Budget and Taxation Committee.

Either bill could be amended on the floor to include the assault weapons ban, though Garagiola would not say that.

"We're considering all of our options," he said with a smile.

Among the other possible maneuvers are petitioning the bill to the Senate floor and appending the ban to Miller's bill designed to help Maryland handgun manufacturer Beretta meet the state's trigger lock requirement.

In an interview Tuesday, Miller was not enthusiastic about using the unorthodox parliamentary maneuvers.

"I don't like going through the back door when you should go through the front door," he said, adding that he is not looking for a protracted battle on the Senate floor.

"We have enough divisive issues we're dealing with this session," he said, adding that he wants to "avoid as much acrimony as possible."

Miller said the Senate is going to have to vote on tax bills and other important measures in the final weeks of the 90-day session, which ends next month.

"If the bill dies, it's not the end of the world," he said.

Quinter also hopes to push a ban through the House in an effort to turn up the heat on the Senate. Both Quinter and Garagiola have given up efforts to expand the federal ban to include so-called copycat weapons such as the Bushmaster rifle used in the 2002 sniper rampage. Instead, they are trying to extend the federal assault weapons ban that will expire in September.

Garagiola noted that President George W. Bush ® and U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft support maintaining the assault weapons ban but have been thwarted by congressional Republicans.

Garagiola said he has commitments from 26 senators to vote for a continuation of the federal ban and predicted he would have the 29 votes needed to end a certain filibuster, provided he can get the bill to the Senate floor.

Petitioning the bill to the floor requires just 24 votes -- a simple majority in the 47-member Senate -- but is frowned upon by Senate leadership because it weakens the hierarchical committee structure that is a key instrument of their power.

Miller has said "the juice isn't worth the squeeze" to use such a maneuver, last used to pass the trigger lock bill in 2000.

Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman Brian E. Frosh (D-Dist. 16) of Bethesda supports the ban, but not an attempt to petition a bill to the floor. Frosh also said that he is not enamored of the Beretta bill either but has not given up hope of working something out.

Giannetti opposed the ban after a personal lobbying effort by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ® to kill it.

Ehrlich spokesman Paul E. Schurick reiterated Tuesday that the governor opposes the bill and wants it dead. "We're committed," he said.

Purtilo, publisher of the newsletter Tripwire, said opponents of the ban will treat Garagiola's new bills as if they are the assault weapons ban lest they morph into it on the Senate floor. Pushing through a ban would result in a backlash against conservative Democrats in difficult districts, he argued.

"Miller has to decide which people he wants to sacrifice," Purtilo said.

Staff Writer Thomas Dennison contributed to this report.

Fellow 2A Marylanders,

Mike Hough, from Sen. Mooney's office and Jared from Don Dwyer's office asked me to get an estimate of who plans to testify next week. On Tuesday, March 16th at 1:00, we have the House hearings, including the House AWB, and on Wednesday, March 17th, we have the Senate hearing, which includes the SB 1-37, "shall issue."

Most of us will be hard pressed to attend both. Mike mentioned Sen. Mooney would like to have at least a dozen or so show up in support of his shall issue bill. Alex and his co-sponsors certainly deserve our support. Jared mentioned Del. Dwyer would like as many as we can get to bury the gun ban, and I'd like to bury it too. I'm going to try to do both, but it won't be easy. I don't know what else to say, other than do whatever you can. On Feb. 10th, 200 gun owners made a statement, and the legislature took notice, particularly swing voters like Brochin and Gianetti.

I'd like to bury this gun ban for good, but I can guarantee you we'll see gun control introduced next year too. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Please contact myself, Mike, or Jared. Thanks.

Mike Hough, 410.841.3575 Michaeljhough@aol.com

Jared, 410.841.3298 Don_Dwyer@house.state.md.us

Steve Dirlik

Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, District 18

10219 Day Ave

Silver Spring, MD. 20910-1043



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On Tuesday, March 16th, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee will be considering a package of gun bills, both pro-gun and anti-gun. Please make plans to attend the hearings on March 16th at 1:00 p.m. in the Judiciary Committee Room of the Lowe House Office Building, 84 College Avenue in Annapolis. If you can not attend the hearings, please be sure to contact your State Delegate and let your voice be heard. You can find contact information for your legislators by using the "Write Your Reps" feature found at NRA ILA or by calling the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683.

Among the bills being considered are:

HB 251 & HB 410, which would repeal the current law requiring that all handguns undergo “ballistic fingerprinting” before they could be sold;

HB 414 & HB 652, which would repeal the prohibition against a dealer selling or transferring specified handguns unless the handguns are equipped with an integrated mechanical safety device, a law which has resulted in a de facto handgun ban;

HB 859, the Citizens’ Protection Act of 2004, which would make considerable improvements to the state’s current discriminatory concealed carry permit system -- changes which would allow all trained law-abiding citizens to obtain a permit to carry a firearm concealed for personal protection; and

HB 1298, the Maryland Assault Weapons Ban of 2004, which proposes to BAN the possession of so-called "assault weapons" in Maryland. This onerous bill defines an "assault weapon" as any semi-automatic firearm which possesses even ONE cosmetic feature that is deemed unacceptable by the bill’s sponsors. The bill also bans "copycat guns"- anything the state thinks resembles an "assault weapon". In addition, the bill mandates registration of any such firearms that are already in private hands by a certain date.

Please be sure to call your delegate today and let your voice be heard!


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