As a key committee is set to vote on his gun bill Friday, Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday called for public support for an assault weapons ban and other gun-control reforms.

In an email sent by his political action committee, O'Malley criticized federal lawmakers for inaction in the wake of Newtown and urged for Maryland to "do something real."

"While Congressional Republicans continue to sit on their hands instead of acting on the President's commonsense plan, we don't have to wait on them here in Maryland," the email said. "In Maryland, we have the opportunity RIGHT NOW to pass a comprehensive package of reforms that will prevent gun violence."

As recently as Wednesday, lawmakers were considering whether to scale back the proposed ban on the sale of assault-style rifles.

O'Malley's bill would also limit magazines to 10 bullets, tighten laws on gun access for certain people with mental illnesses and create licensing system to buy hand guns. 

Together, the provision would give Maryland some of the country's strictest gun laws. 

The Maryland Senate passed the bill in February, but it has since languished as a House committee debated changes behind the scenes.  

In his email, O'Malley asked supporters to contact their delegates and urge them to vote in favor of the gun bill. 

Meanwhile, opponents who have made a visible and vocal presence in Annapolis plan to again gather in Annapolis on Friday.