A hunter, a mother and a minister are featured in new advertisements touting Maryland's new gun law, which was signed last week and represents one of the nation's most sweeping pieces of gun-control legislation passed this year.
The ads, released in advance, will begin airing on Baltimore-area television stations this week. Produced by proponents of the new gun law, the ads are intended to educate residents about the new law and protect lawmakers who voted for it.
The version to be broadcast nixes lines from earlier scripts that criticized Washington for inaction on gun-control. The "Stand Up" ads, instead, praise Maryland for passing a law that requires fingerprints and a license to buy a handgun, limits magazines to 10 bullets and bans 45 types of assault rifles and their copycats, among other stricter rules. The law will take effect on Oct. 1.
The public-relations campaign on the law comes as opponents plan a multi-pronged attack on it and the legislators who helped pass it.
The National Rifle Association has said it will challenge Maryland's new law in court. A new political action committee has begun raising money to target lawmakers who supported the law. A Montgomery County woman has launched a petition drive to collect 55,000 signatures to put the law on hold until a referendum vote in 2014. More than 18,500 of those signatures must be delivered to elections officials by the end of the month, a task organizer Sue Payne has called "monumental."
The new advertisements by Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence suggest that the Maryland law - which creates the first new licensing system in nearly two decades - could be a model for other states considering new gun control laws.
Connecticut, New York and Colorado have also enacted new gun laws in the wake of the December mass shooting at a Connecticut Elementary school that killed 27 people. Gun-control advocates say Maryland's new law represents the one of the biggest policy shifts among the states that passed gun-control this year.
Connecticut and New York already had some stricter laws than Maryland as both required a license to buy a handgun licensing and banned some assault weapons. Those bans were expanded, and New York adopted an even more strict 7-bullet limit for magazines. Colorado adopted more stringent background checks - provision the other three states already had - and adopted a limit on high-capacity magazines.
States have taken the lead on new gun laws as federal efforts in Congress have stalled.
The new advertisements will run for at least two weeks on several different networks, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence president Vincent DeMarco said.