Townsend Denies Blame For Lapse Of Maryland Gun Checks

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:29pm EDT

( - Maryland's Democratic Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Thursday denied any responsibility for a decision that resulted in her state refusing to provide the FBI with criminal records of potential gun buyers.

The records are needed for the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which gun control advocates like Townsend support.

Townsend, a Democratic candidate for governor this year, accused U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) of "playing politics" with the issue of criminal background checks.

In a Wednesday press release, Sensenbrenner said Maryland was the only state that refused to provide criminal records - and that the refusal lasted almost six months earlier this year.

Sensenbrenner said he has requested a General Accounting Office audit to determine how Maryland officials spent the money that was supposed to have been designated to record keeping.

Townsend said she does not oversee the Maryland State Archives office, which provides the records and accused Republicans of trying to help her GOP opponent, Rep. Robert Ehrlich.

"They want to get the subject changed from what clearly people are upset about, which are Congressman Ehrlich's votes on assault weapons and Saturday night specials," Townsend said.

Paul Schurick, Ehrlich's spokesman, said Townsend "has personally been in charge of crime control for eight years. She is responsible for these guns being sold. The archivist is not in charge of crime in Maryland."

See Earlier Story:

Maryland Refused to Help FBI in Criminal Background Gun Checks

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