ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. Martin O'Malley is asking for $4.6 million in his supplemental budget to create a "Gun Center" that would help police implement new gun restrictions expected to pass the legislature.
The Gun Center would hire nine new state troopers and 20 office clerks to help implement O'Malley's sweeping gun control bill, which would require permits and finger printing for all new handgun purchases.
The measure would impose some of the strictest restrictions on gun ownership in the country, including a ban on assault weapons, large ammunition magazines and a prohibition on firearm ownership for the mentally ill. The House is expected to vote on it Wednesday.
The Maryland State Police already has tripled its workforce to deal with a spike in gun sales sparked by debate over gun restrictions. State police are facing such a backlog of background checks that it's taking three times longer to process them, or about three weeks.
The supplemental budget also sets aside an additional $10 million to help Maryland deal with the effects of the federal across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester. That's in addition to about $900 million set aside in the budget passed by the Senate in March.
O'Malley's supplemental budget also includes $300,000 to save the Towson University baseball team for another year while the school works on fundraising.
The supplemental budget will be introduced as an amendment to be handed to a conference committee of the House and Senate as they work out differences between the two versions of the budget each chamber passed.