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Md. congressman says he backs some common-sense gun limits

Delaney favors restrictions on accessibility to violent video games, better monitoring of those with mental health issues and their access to guns

January 24, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — U.S. Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., told state legislators that he favors common-sense limitations when it comes to guns at a meeting of the Western Maryland delegation Thursday.

Delaney, the newly elected Democrat who represents the 6th Congressional District, also said at the meeting that he favored restrictions on accessibility to violent video games, better monitoring of those with mental health issues and their access to guns.

Delaney also said he supports drilling for natural gas, a process sometimes referred to as fracking.

But it was the discussion on guns that led Thursday’s meeting.

“One thing that is very near and dear to us in Western Maryland is our guns,” Del. LeRoy Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, and the chairman of the Western Maryland delegation told Delaney.

Delaney said common-sense limitations means that he will support a ban on what he called “military style” weapons.

He also said that he generally supported President Obama’s initiative on guns even though he did not agree with everything.

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Delaney’s comments came on the same day that Democrats in Washington, D.C. formally unveiled a bill to ban some assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Members of the Washington County delegation, most of them Republicans, have been speaking out against possible gun control measures, both in the state and at the national level.

Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington, said he agreed with Delaney when it comes to a focus on mental health issues and violent video games.

“These video games are out of control. They are way too violent,” Parrott said.

But he added that the majority of people in Western Maryland would not support the broader gun-control measures that Delaney supports.

“That is the problem with having a congressman that is really representing Montgomery County and not Western Maryland,” Parrott said, referring to a redrawing of the district that added a section of Montgomery County to the 6th District.

“We should enforce rules on the books, we should eliminate loopholes like being able to buy guns at gun shows without a background check,” Delaney said.

Myers, who also does not support a ban on assault weapons, said he agreed with Delaney when it comes to better background checks and preventing certain people from having weapons such as those who are on the government’s “no fly” list.

Myers said the meeting was useful because the delegation got to know to new congressman and his stand on certain issues.

Delaney told the legislators that he is a big believer in global warming.

“Changing our behavior can make a difference and I think we have to do it. I think it is the moral issue for the world in the next 20-25 years,” he said.

One way of doing that was for the country to become the leader in the advanced energy economy, he said.

“I am a big supporter of natural gas, and believe that we can safely and successfully engage in … fracking.

There has to be accountability, there has to be regulation but I think we can do it,” Delaney said.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has set aside $1.5 million in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 to study the environmental and economic effects of drilling for natural gas in the state.

Although the drilling, if it happens, will most likely be in Garrett County, Washington County could see some benefits to the local economy, experts have said. There also are concerns about how the drilling would affect the Potomac River, the county’s water source.

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