Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley addresses the Democratic National Committee in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley will call for universal background checks on gun purchases and a national age requirement for handgun possession as part of a gun control proposal he is expected to announce on Monday afternoon.
This isn’t the first time the former Maryland governor has demanded action on guns. As a presidential contender, he has set a national goal of cutting in half deaths from gun violence by 2025. The proposal is part of his “15 Goals to Rebuild the American Dream” initiative.
O’Malley is calling on the federal government to require background checks on all gun sales, including at gun shows and on the Internet. Currently, federal law only requires background checks on firearm sales through licensed dealers, thus allowing for easier purchases and transfers of guns than under his proposal.
O’Malley declared his presidential campaign on May 30, and since has advocated for reducing gun violence at the federal level. Just weeks after the deadly shooting of nine African-American worshippers in June at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, O’Malley emailed his supporters with the subject line, “I’m pissed.” In the message, he explained his anger about Congress continuing to “drop the ball” on passing gun-control measures.
As a two-term governor of Maryland, O’Malley passed some of the country’s strongest gun laws, including licensing, fingerprinting, background checks and safety training requirements for all buyers. He signed legislation that banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines (those that can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition, and have been used by mass shooters) in the wake of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 26 people dead.
“Week after week, more images of horrific gun violence flash across our TV and computer screens. These tragedies aren’t isolated incidents; they are part of a full-blown—and entirelypreventable—epidemic. We cannot afford to sit by and let this constant heartbreak become the norm,” O’Malley wrote in a paper outlining his proposals ahead of Monday’s announcement.
Maryland ranked fourth in the nation and received an “A-” grade on an annual scorecard published last December by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence that grades states on their gun laws. Among other measures, the Old Line State prohibits any person from purchasing more than one handgun or assault weapon within a 30-day period and requires owners to report the loss or theft of their firearms.
O’Malley is scheduled to announce his proposals Monday afternoon during a roundtable discussion in New York City. He will travel to Denver later this week to listen to policy makers and business owners about marijuana legalization, another hot-button issue.
In the presidential primary polls, O’Malley trails U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He ranked fourth in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and in South Carolina tied for fourth with former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, according to aCBS/YouGov poll released Sunday. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not declared his intention to run, placed third in those three primary states.