Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is holding a series of town hall meetings to give the community a chance to voice its questions and concerns about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed gun control and public safety legislation.
O’Malley’s plan would ban assault weapons and enact greater restrictions for licensing and possession of guns.
“This evening is really intended to amplify the voices of the members of our community,” Brown said, at Tuesday’s town hall at Prince George’s Community College in Largo.
Opponents of the governor’s bills made certain their voices were heard.
Prince George’s County resident Bob Beaman did not always advocate for gun owners. But with a family, his views changed.
“One day I heard some noise and went to check it out with a butcher knife. And I said to myself, what’s wrong with this picture?” Beaman said.
Now, he doesn’t want to see restrictions imposed.
“We should allow our citizens more of the rights that the Constitution and God has given us to go forward and I think this bill is just restricting us way too much,” Beaman said.
But Waldorf’s William Bates is not convinced his voice can sway the politicians.
“I think I was being heard, but I think it was more of an appeasement thing,” Bates said.
Prince George’s County saw its lowest homicide rate last year since 1986. But Kevin Davis, assistant chief of police, said there still needs to be a conversation.
“The fact of the matter is this is 2013, this isn’t 1776, and we have to have a thoughtful discussion in America about guns and ownership of guns,” Davis said.
While opponents of the O’Malley’s plan were the loudest at Largo’s town hall, supporters did not sit quiet.
“I can tell you right now I am one that unlike many of them probably in this room, I have been at gunpoint, I’ve seen a gun used,” Wala Kewon Blegay of Largo said. “I’ve never had a gun in my house, neither has my parents. I’m still here today, so are they.”