Dealth Penalty Repeal & Gun Control Challenge
Governor To Sign Death Penalty Repeal
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to sign a measure repealing capital punishment in Maryland into law.
Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O'Malley, confirmed on Thursday that O'Malley plans to sign the bill at a bill-signing ceremony on May 2.
Maryland will become the 18th state to ban the death penalty. Connecticut did so last year. Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York also have abolished it in recent years.
Maryland has five men on death row. The measure would not apply to them retroactively. But the legislation makes clear the governor can commute their sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole. O'Malley has said he will consider them on a case-by-case basis.
The state's last execution took place in 2005, during Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich's administration.
Gun Control Challenge
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - A gun owners' rights group is threatening to sue 35 Maryland local governments unless they repeal gun regulations that the group says violate state law.
The Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, Wash., says Maryland is the third state it has targeted in a campaign to eliminate local gun laws that are more restrictive than state regulations. The group has run similar projects in its home state and Virginia.
The campaign has had some results. Cumberland's city council took steps this week toward repealing an ordinance prohibiting private citizens from carrying concealed handguns.
But Worcester County disputes the foundation's assertion that its ordinance banning firearms in dry nightclubs conflicts with state law.
The foundation says it launched the Maryland project before Maryland's legislature approved tougher gun laws this spring.