Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr., the swing vote on a proposal to ban 45 assault weapons beginning when the federal ban expires this year, is offering middle ground between legalizing the firearms and banning them outright.
His idea: enact an identical state version of the federal ban on 19 semiautomatic weapons.
A Democrat representing Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, Giannetti called his proposal "a reasonable compromise."
Giannetti said that he offered the amendment to the proposed ban after learning at a packed hearing this week that both the Fraternal Order of Police and the Maryland State Police opposed the bill .
"That surprised me," he said, and prompted him to poll sheriffs in his jurisdiction for their thoughts on banning the weapons.
The bill, and a House version, are supported by more than 70 lawmakers. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee could vote on the matter as early as today.