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Maryland Senate passes gun control bill

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley addresses the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. REUTERS
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley addresses the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Maryland Senate approved a comprehensive gun control bill on Thursday that includes a ban on assault weapons and fingerprinting for prospective handgun buyers.

The Democratic-controlled Senate passed the bill 28-19 and sent it on to the House of Delegates, according to the chamber's website.

Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley proposed the measure in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre in December in which 20 children and six adults died. The rampage reignited a national debate on gun control.

The bill has a licensing requirement for handgun buyers to submit fingerprints to state police. Gun buyers also have to complete an eight-hour safety training course and undergo a more rigorous background check before purchasing a weapon.

The measure bars anyone who has been involuntarily committed due to mental illness from possessing a firearm. It also bans assault weapons and limits magazine sizes.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andre Grenon)

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