More than a dozen Baltimore area business leaders gathered yesterday to support the governor's gun control package, arguing that it is not just good policy, but good business.
At a downtown news conference, the executives urged the General Assembly to approve the legislation to save lives and improve the region's economy.
"Gun violence kills people, and the threat of gun violence kills business," said Decatur "Deke" Miller, past president of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
The business leaders are the latest group of Marylanders to back Gov. Parris N. Glendening's gun control proposals. Last week, several medical organizations endorsed the legislation.
Hearings on the proposals are scheduled for next month.
The governor wants to limit handgun purchases from stores to one per person per month and require fingerprints and criminal background checks of those who buy guns from private individuals.
Particularly controversial is his plan to license buyers and require them to pass a firearms course.
Gun rights advocates see licensing and purchase limits as steps in the direction of banning handguns. But Mr. Glendening has argued that handgun limits would merely make it harder for criminals to buy weapons in bulk.
In 1994, 71 Marylanders purchased more than one gun a month, according to state police Superintendent David B. Mitchell. Some of those people, he said, were responsible for funneling hundreds of weapons to criminals.
At their news conference, the business leaders unveiled a newspaper advertisement touting their support and endorsed by 35 executives.
They include Henry A. Rosenberg Jr., chairman of Crown Central Petroleum; Alonzo G. Decker Jr., honorary chairman of Black and Decker Corp., and James W. Rouse, the real estate developer.