Since the 2015 riots in Baltimore, gang violence in the Maryland city has increased. In response, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has made a pledge to push for criminal justice reform. He plans to lobby the Maryland legislature to regulate the amount of time a convicted criminal must serve if they are caught possessing a firearm illegally.
“The bad guys in Baltimore, bad guys in Maryland know it’s a misdemeanor and there’s no consequence associated with illegally wearing, carrying or transporting a firearm,” said Davis.
Davis argued that criminals in other cities like New York and Washington, D.C. know they’ll face felony charges if convicted of illegally possessing a firearm, but Baltimore’s criminals are onto the city’s impotent justice and far too lenient criminal justice systems.
Under Davis’ recommendations, the legislature would ensure a mandatory minimum sentence for those who illegally possess a firearm. This would ensure gun control advocates would no longer be able to side-step judicial recommendations based on individual circumstances.
As insightful as the criminal justice reform portion of Davis’ proposal may be, he is also interested in banning campus carry and restricting citizens on the federal no-fly list from purchasing a firearm.
Since Maryland already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, Davis is likely to face a hefty opposition on those measures.
“Justice is individualized,”said state Sen. Robert A. Zirkin, a Baltimore County Democrat who chairs the Judicial Proceedings Committee. “Where two years might make sense in one case, it won’t make sense in another. That’s why mandatory minimums don’t work.”
“If I lived in East Baltimore and I’m a law-abiding person, I’d probably want to carry a gun, too. If you just improperly stored it, you could get busted by the law,” said Frederick County Republican Senator Michael Hough, a member of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, which reviews gun legislation in the Senate.
According to Davis, the plan to advance his proposed measures includes an invitation to a number of gun control groups for support, including Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters United and A Mother’s Cry. Marylanders to Prevent Gun violence has already pledged to Davis.