| ANNAPOLIS, Md.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. Jan 14 Maryland and Delaware
have joined the push for a ban in the United States on assault
weapons and some types of ammunition magazines after last
month's Connecticut school massacre.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden joined leaders of the
mid-Atlantic state on Monday in announcing new gun measures
while his father, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, was
preparing national gun control proposals.
The announcements from the two states exposed a widening
divide over gun control between states with Democratic
majorities and large urban areas, particularly along the east
coast, and more rural states, many of which are represented by
"Military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition
clips designed for battle have no place on our streets," said
Beau Biden, echoing comments made by his father since a gunman
killed 20 children and six adults in a school in Newtown,
Connecticut on Dec. 14.
The Delaware proposals are due to be introduced in the
legislature in the next two weeks.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who is often discussed as
a possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, said on
Monday that he would propose later this week a tighter ban on
assault weapons and on certain types of ammunition magazines.
"Perhaps there is no way to completely prevent the next
Newtown tragedy," he said. "But then again, perhaps there is."
O'Malley said he also would call for the licensing of
handguns in the state.
Gun control has been at the center of U.S. politics, once
again, since the December 14 massacre in Newtown.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, used a military-style AR-15
rifle that he had taken from his mother's home. He shot and
killed himself after the rampage inside the school. This type of
gun was not covered by Connecticut's existing assault weapons
Before the December shooting only California, Connecticut,
New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Maryland, plus
the District of Columbia, had some form of ban on assault
Since the shooting the governors of Connecticut, New York
and now Maryland have announced that they will try to tighten
those controls. Delaware would become the eighth state to ban
assault weapons if the proposed law is passed.
Some big city mayors, led by New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, have joined the drive for tougher gun control.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Monday that he had
ordered a review of pension and retirement funds for city
employees as a first step toward divesting stock of companies
that make or sell assault weapons.
The second largest U.S. pension fund, the California State
Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), decided last week to sell
its investments in manufacturers of firearms that are banned in
California, like the assault rifle used in Newtown.
Calls for action in states near Connecticut, as well as
California and some big cities, contrast with the muted response
in other parts of the country.
Many states have either been silent on gun control or are
focusing on security at schools and mental health initiatives in
response to the Connecticut shooting.
In Mississippi, for example, Republican Lieutenant Governor
Tate Reeves has proposed creating a fund to help schools hire
certified law enforcement officers as guards. He also wants
Mississippi courts to report cases of mental illness to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation so that people with a history of
mental illness can be prevented from purchasing guns.