A “massive crowd” of gun-rights advocates gathered in Annapolis on Wednesday to protest Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal that would ban “assault weapons” and require citizens to obtain a license before purchasing handguns.

The gun-rights rally came as President Obama was also in the Maryland state capital for the day, meeting privately with Senate Democrats who are holding their annual strategy session at the Annapolis Westin Hotel. […]

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, was expected to attend the meeting with the president and is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The rally was organized by several gun-rights groups whose leaders spoke alongside Republican lawmakers in opposition to the governor’s bill, which would add Maryland to the 11 states that require residents to apply for and receive a license before purchasing a handgun.

His legislation would also lower the limit on magazine capacity from 20 to 10 rounds and would require license-to-purchase applicants to pay a $100 fee.

O’Malley, like many Democratic lawmakers, believes that passing more legislation will actually reduce gun violence, even though data does not support this assumption.

Similar to the proposed legislation in California that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance, gun rights advocates argue this bill’s $100 fee and training requirements would disproportionately affect the law-abiding poor.

 “Basically, with this licensing provision in the governor’s bill, only rich people are going to be able to afford guns in the state of Maryland,” Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, Cecil Republican, said last week. “Whether the governor likes it or not, owning a gun has been proven through the courts to be an individual right.”

As one sign at the rally aptly stated, “Criminals love gun control—it makes their job safer.”

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