New York, Maryland Governors Hot on Gun Control at Political Risk


As with New York's plan, it would also address mental health. And O'Malley's plan calls for data-sharing, investments in treatment and the creation of a treatment program called the Center for Excellence on Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness to "utilize more effective early intervention strategies."

Also, like Cuomo's plan, O'Malley did not embrace the National Rifle Association's call for armed guards outside of every school, but he did say he wanted to create a new Maryland Center for School Safety that would bring together both law enforcement and school officials.

It is a $25 million project to improve school safety in the form of auto-locking doors and mandatory guest check-in requirements, among others proposals.

In his State of the State address, Cuomo noted that he is a gun owner himself and his proposal "is not taking away people's guns." In Baltimore Monday, the Maryland governor also said his goal was not "to ban all guns."

"At the same time, we know that it makes no sense to blame everything but guns for the violence in our neighborhoods," O'Malley said.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Monday, one month after the Newtown tragedy, found Americans do favor gun-control measures. Eighty-eight percent of Americans favor background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows, 76 percent support checks on buyers of ammunition and 71 percent back a new federal database to track all gun sales.

In addition, 65 percent of Americans support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, 58 percent favor banning the sale of so-called assault weapons, 55 percent support the NRA's call for armed guards in schools and 51 percent would ban semi-automatic handguns.

As for the duo's future ambitions, Amy Walter, the national editor of the Cook Political Report, told ABC News that the two governors' plans put together so quickly after the Newtown tragedy points to "why it is so much easier to be a governor than a United States senator when it comes to running for president."

"You can point to a record of actual accomplishments," Walter said. "You don't have to wait for 535 other people and the president to decide what you do is OK. It's the benefit of being an executive."

Walter says the expansive plans "certainly will help whatever base building they are trying to do right now."

"Before the gun issue, these two guys were probably best known for their work on gay marriage," Walter said.

"I guess the question is, at the end of the day, what is going to be more of a wedge issue: gay marriage or gun control. I think there are a lot of people would argue guns are more problematic, but we will see."

Walter also noted that Cuomo, 55, and O'Malley, 49, are weighing politically whether these gun-control measures would mean they are "going to do any worse than President Obama?"

"No, so they just have to be like Obama and say, 'We aren't going to win rural stretches, but we will win suburbs and major metropolitan areas.' And they need to make sure they can do that."

Either way, it shows there has been a real shift in the party since Al Gore's loss in 2000. Then, Walter says, Democrats said it was his position on guns as well as President Clinton's 1994 "assault weapons" ban that "alienated rural Americans and the South, but what O'Malley and Cuomo seem to be saying is we aren't worried about it."

ABC News' Matthew Larotonda contributed to this report.

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