ANNAPOLIS -- Gun rights advocates are already looking to shoot down firearms legislation that would make Maryland one of the most restrictive states in the nation.

Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington County, heads, a website that collects signatures to put controversial legislation on the ballot to be decided by voters. He said his group was polling its members on their interest in putting the gun control bill, with a number of other measures, to referendum.

"Certainly, interest in that one is very high," Parrott said. "I suspect that would be one of them [we try to get on the 2014 ballot]."

During months of contentious debate over the gun bill -- which would ban assault weapons, limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, require licensing and fingerprinting for new handgun purchases and prohibit gun ownership by the mentally ill -- thousands of gun rights advocates traveled to Annapolis to protest and testify before the General Assembly.

Opponents would need to get 55,736 verified signatures to put the bill on the ballot in 2014. was successful in helping to get three controversial new laws on the 2012 ballot: same-sex marriage, in-state tuition for some illegal immigrant students and the state's congressional redistricting map.

All three of those were upheld by voters. Parrott said he learned from the experience that his group needs to be involved in campaigning all the way up to the election, instead of hoping another group would take the reins once a measure is on the ballot. - Andy Brownfield