This past weekend a 4 year old boy was shot and killed when he found a gun in his home; a police detective was sent to the hospital after being shot in the chest; and 16 others were victims of gun violence in Baltimore. A particularly bloody weekend left the city Police Commissioner advocating for tougher gun laws and promising more targeted enforcement.
According to the Baltimore Sun, both the Commissioner and the Mayor traveled to Annapolis to seek out tighter regulations, claiming there are simply far too many illegal guns on Baltimore streets. He argues that too many people are given fines and put back on the streets, only to get another gun and commit violent acts again.
The Department is going to be cracking down on traffic violations and loitering in problem areas though they maintain they will not be “opening the floodgates to arrests.” This cautious wording from the Commissioner, no doubt stems from a $870,000 settlement the city paid last year to the SCLU and NAACP on biased policing, after which the department rejected zero-tolerance policies or mass arrests for minor offenses.
The Commissioner states, “You can’t arrest enough of those guys, but patrolling the city indiscriminately is not the answer to this problem.”
Among the laws the Police Commissioner and Mayor would like to see passed is one that would set a mandatory minimum sentence for people arrested with an illegal and loaded firearm. That sentence would be boosted to at least 18 months and as many as 10 years. But the law is currently stalled in committee.
With the weather turning warmer, city officials expect the weekends and days in general will become more violent once again. It’s no surprise that this particularly violent past weekend was also one of record setting warmth.
Weekends like this, particularly one where a small child was killed, do sometimes spur lawmakers who wouldn’t have otherwise voted to pass more restrictive gun laws in Maryland. But, not always. The balance between public safety and personal gun ownership rights is a delicate one.
If you are facing weapons charges, contact us today. The laws surrounding such offenses are confusing and ever-changing.