States, cities mulling own assault-weapon bans, amid doubt over federal action – While Congress prepares to debate renewing the federal assault-weapons ban, several states and cities already are pursuing bans of their own in the wake of high-profile mass shootings this year.  At least five states, including Georgia and Vermont, are pressing ahead with new legislation. Other states, like Maryland, are taking a closer look at their existing laws and searching for ways to strengthen them.