It was a bitter battle, but Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new, stricter handgun licensing bill passed the Senate more or less intact. The eight-hour-training course was reduced to four hours (so, umm, I guess they’ll walk away with half the knowledge?).
The outright ban on handgun ownership for someone who “voluntarily spent 30 days in a mental health facility” was struck down. (Good thinking, in my opinion — the last thing we need is a disincentive for people to seek treatment for mental illness.)
The assault weapon component was relaxed to match up with the expired federal ban. And the licensing fee was dropped from $100 to $25.
The most big-brothery aspect — the mandatory fingerprinting — was upheld narrowly.
The grab bag of smart and arbitrary gun proposals moves to the House of Delegates on Friday.