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O'Malley gun proposal makes money for state

The Baltimore Sun

Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to require handgun licenses would make the state more than twice as much as it would cost to administer the program, according to a Department of Legislative Services analysis released Monday night.

The analysis is the first independent look the costs of licensing, which advocates call the most effective and the most controversial piece of O'Malley's sweeping gun proposal. 

Requiring a license to buy a handgun in Maryland would generate $3.8 million for Maryland in its first year, after the Maryland State Police hires 22 people to help implement the program. By the second year, the state would generate $5 million, more than twice the cost to give out the licenses.

Handgun purchasers must now undergo a background check and complete a 30-minute, online safety training course. Under O'Malley's proposal, no one could buy a handgun without first obtaining a license, which requires a a $100 fee, undergoing more expansive background check, completing an eight-hour training course and giving digital fingerprints to state police. 

Gun control advocates say licensure cuts down on "straw-purchases" because the more rigourous buying process deters people from purchasing guns for criminals to use.

Opponents of O'Malley's gun-control program has likened the requirement to a poll tax that would only allow weathly people to own guns.

The governor is scheduled to testify Wednesday on the first public hearing of his public safety bill, which includes the gun licensing provision and a ban on assault rifles.

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