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Crime on their minds

Maryland's two leading Democratic candidates for governor each, in their own way, sought yesteday to bolster their crime-fighting bona fides.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan yukked it up on a Baltimore radio show hosted by Ed Norris, who once served as police commissioner for Duncan's primary rival, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Amid guffaws about the size of his family --with 13 children growing up, Duncan said their home qualified as its own voting precinct--and talk of Baltimore's troubled schools, Duncan offered a preview of a crime-fighting plan he plans to unveil next week.

The centerpiece: a proposal to use state dollars to help put 1,000 new additional cops on the beat.

O'Malley, meanwhile, appeared at a press conference in Annapolis to lend his support to legislation--unlikely to pass the Senate this year--that would ban assault weapons in Maryland.

John Wagner

Among those standing by O'Malley were his current police commissioner, the fourth under his tenure, and his gubernatorial running mate, Del. Anthony Brown (D-Prince George's), who said as an Army veteran he knows something about assualt weapons.

"Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose only, which is to kill human beings," said Brown, who returned last year from a stint in Iraq as a reservist. "Assault weapons are not intended for hunting."

The event was hosted by Del. Neil Quinter (D-Howard), the House sponsor of the bill and an O'Malley supporter. Not invited: Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery), the chief sponsor of the Senate version of the legislation. And a Duncan supporter.

Norris, who has a radio show on WHFS-FM, left the city's employ in 2003 to become superintendent of state police, only to be convicted and sentenced to six months in federal prison for using a city police fund to buy lingerie for his girlfriends, among other things.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  February 9, 2006; 6:43 PM ET
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