Maryland task force: Allow cops to seize guns

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Photo - MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 18:  In this photo illustration, a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen with ammunition on December 18, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The weapon is similar in style to the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that was used during a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Firearm sales have surged recently as speculation of stricter gun laws and a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban following the mass shooting.  (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 18: In this photo illustration, a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen with ammunition on December 18, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The weapon is similar in style to the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that was used during a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Firearm sales have surged recently as speculation of stricter gun laws and a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban following the mass shooting. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Local,Maryland,Crime,Steve Contorno,Firearms,Law Enforcement

A Maryland task force on Wednesday urged state lawmakers to allow cops to seize weapons from anyone threatening violence and to provide police departments more money to train their officers to deal with the mentally ill.

The task force, set up to study access to firearms by the mentally ill, was put together long before the Connecticut school massacre last month that sparked a new national debate over gun control. But the findings will help lawmakers deal with the aftermath of that shooting when they return to Annapolis on Jan. 9.

The panel concluded in its 18-page report that it is "not persuaded" that mental illness alone should disqualify someone from buying a gun.

Still, the report said counselors, physicians, probation agents and similar professionals should be required to report any verbal or physical threats to help track potentially dangerous individuals with a serious mental disability. And those who are prohibited from owning a gun should have a path to having those rights restored, the report said.

The task force also recommended that cops be given the power to temporarily seize weapons from individuals deemed dangerous. Police should also be given additional training on how to deal with the mentally ill, the report said.

- Steve Contorno

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