Gansler weighs in on gun licensing

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s licensing proposal that calls for a $100 fee, fingerprinting and safety training before someone can buy a handgun does not violate the U.S. Constitution, according to a legal opinion released Tuesday by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.

The opinion came at the request of state Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat who chairs the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has questioned whether the licensing provision goes too far.

“Law-abiding gun owners have nothing to fear,” Gansler said in a statement, adding that “the qualifications do not allow for confiscation of guns nor could they.”

The opinion, written by Dan Friedman, counsel to the General Assembly, rests on a 2008 Supreme Court decision and says the state has the authority to limit the right to possess a handgun.

The first public hearing on O’Malley’s gun-control package will be held next week.

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