ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WUSA) -- Four weeks after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a tragedy that revived the national conversation on gun violence, Annapolis lawmakers are now preparing for a debate on the merits of adding stricter gun control laws in Maryland.

At Wednesday's opening session of the Maryland General Assembly, Governor Martin O'Malley said that he intends to submit a bill early on in the legislative session that would ban the sale of assault-rifles and high-capacity magazines, and further limit the availability of guns to the mentally ill.

"There's no responsibility more fundamental to governing than public safety," Governor O'Malley said.

Reading the political tea leaves, O'Malley said he believes the majority of Annapolis lawmakers will support his legislation. Speaker Michael Busch agrees, saying there's "absolutely" an appetite for more gun control in Maryland, while Montgomery County Delegate Ben Kramer said he's looking forward to seeing the specifics of the Governor's bill.

"I think that it could be useful, in the right context...and it's certainly worth considering," Kramer said, referring to a ban on assault weapons.

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