"This is the creep," Pipkin said. "This is the one that takes you into a whole other realm of regulation as far as that's concerned."
However, Frosh cited mass shootings by people suffering from mental illness. Frosh, the chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, pointed to the 2011 shooting rampage in Arizona that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and last year's shooting in a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and wounded 58, as well as the December shooting in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.
"We can stop some of these crimes if we can keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally ill," Frosh said. "If we haven't drawn precisely the right lines, we've drawn pretty good lines. An involuntary commitment is somebody who is a danger to himself and others."
Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George's, said the bill goes beyond simply addressing high-profile rampage shootings with mass casualties, noting the gun violence that is claiming lives in less publicized crimes in Maryland.
"I want to reduce that violence, and I think we all want to and that means taking action," Pinsky said. "Is it the perfect action? It may not be, but if we get 90 percent of it right and we can at the end of the day or in two years or four years or five years reduce that stream of illegal guns on the street, it's going to help all of us."
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