Baltimore City Leaders testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week in an effort to gain support for stricter gun laws and tougher penalties for those who run afoul of any state weapons offenses. The battle they face, however, seems to be an uphill one as lawmakers are resistant to making stricter laws when it seems Baltimore is the only area of the state in need of them.
Among the changes is a potential addition of 10 years to the already five year mandatory sentence for felon in possession of a handgun, making it a 15 year mandatory sentence. Another proposal on the table—increasing an illegal gun possession charge a felony with a mandatory 18 month sentence.
More than anything, it seems, the lawmakers want to ensure the laws aren’t overreaching. In regards to one proposed law, that would increase the sentence of possession of a loaded handgun from 30 days (misdemeanor) to 18 months (felony), a lawmaker states “It is unsafe? Yes. Is it a mistake? Yes. But should you be a felony and spend 18 months in jail? This bill is overreaching.”
Lawmakers year after year have to find a balance between public safety concerns and creating a police state, potentially infringing on the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Supporters of the measure state it would still be within the discretion of the prosecutor to charge the offense as a misdemeanor, handing the ultimate sentencing decision to a prosecutor rather than a judge.
The Baltimore Sun reports this is the seventh year that city officials have made the trip to Annapolis, voicing their concerns about weapons-safety and urging increased legislation. While such legislation made it as far as the floor last year, the session ended before a vote could take place.
Baltimore unquestionably has the highest crime in the state and the biggest justification for wanting tougher gun laws. But in an effort to make things safer there, lawmakers are worried about getting innocent gun owners wrapped up in the system.
As it stands, Maryland gun laws are pretty strict and it’s not all that difficult to find yourself facing felony gun charges. Some of the more common weapons violations we see in Maryland courts are listed here and as you can see, they carry some pretty serious penalties as it is.
If you are facing gun charges in Maryland, particularly in the city of Baltimore, you could be facing an uphill battle of your own. Having an experienced defense lawyer on your side is crucial in ensuring you get the best results possible on your day in court.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation on your case.