The Blog

Maryland Gov. Didn't Know What Gun Laws Were on the Books

But passed gun control bill anyway.

1:22 PM, Apr 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2016, just passed a very strict gun law, which includes a so-called assault weapons ban. But what's especially interesting is that before the December shooting at a school in Connecticut, Governor O'Malley had no idea what the gun laws were in his state. 

On the day after a gunman killed 20 children in Newtown, Conn., Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wrote a text messageto his chief legislative lobbyist.

“Do we or do we not have an assault-weapons ban?” the governor asked that Saturday, 10 days before Christmas.

No, Stacy Mayer wrote back.

Really? the governor responded. I thought we did.

A variety of pistols, such as mini-Uzis , were illegal. But the weapon that Adam Lanza had fired in Newtown — the semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle?

Legal in Maryland.

That anecdote is shared in the Washington Post, which adds:

Three days later, O’Malley summoned Mayer and several advisers to the governor’s mansion. Until then, his team had mostly been recovering from the exhaustion of campaigning for three statewide referendums and President Obama’s reelection. They had no grand plan to take on guns as the state legislature was about to convene in Annapolis.

Now they would go after assault weapons. They would seek limits on how many bullets a gun could hold. They would regulate access to firearms for the mentally ill.

But a key piece of their agenda, as itemized in a memo that the advisers gave O’Malley, was something no state had attempted to enact in nearly two decades, and never south of the Mason-Dixon line: a new way of licensing firearms that would require fingerprinting, more-rigorous background checks and safety training.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers