Baltimore Mayor Jack Young says federal legislation is needed to curb the city’s sky-high homicide rate, and is joining other mayors from around the country in demanding Congress pass new gun control laws.
Young said today although Baltimore works tirelessly to find solutions at a local level, he says they rely heavily on state and federal leaders to take action where they can’t. Young joined the group “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” on capitol hill this afternoon, pushing congress to pass common-sense gun control.Young said gun violence is a public health crisis and says it requires immediate policy action.
Homicide numbers in Baltimore continue to climb. There were four more homicides since Friday, bringing the total number in the city to 241.
If gun control laws were effective at bringing down homicides, Baltimore should be safer than it was back in 2013, when the state passed the Maryland Firearms Safety Act, which included a ban on many semi-automatic rifles, “lost or stolen” reporting requirements, a magazine ban, firearms registration, and more. Since the law went on to the books in 2013, homicides in Baltimore have gone up, not down. In fact, the city has seen record-high homicide rates since the passage of the gun control package in 2013.
“As city leaders we get the late-night calls about shootings, we console parents who lose children to violence and we field calls that one of our police officers that have been involved in a shooting. the toll of gun violence is our lived experience each and every day,” Young said.
Mayor Young is doubling down on the idea that more laws equates to less crime, even though the crime in Baltimore is driven by those well known to law enforcement and the criminal justice system. In fact, it’s not just the perpetrators of violent crime who are known to authorities. In 2018, about half of the city’s homicide victims had violent criminal histories of their own. Another law, or two, or two dozen, won’t stop these individuals. Better enforcement of the existing laws is what will drive down the city’s crime rate, not any bill passed by Congress.
Maryland could also empower residents of Baltimore to protect themselves by recognizing the right to bear arms. Currently, self-defense is not seen as a valid reason to receive a concealed carry license, which means good people in bad neighborhoods are defenseless prey for the predators on their streets. Even if you live in the most violent neighborhood in Baltimore, the state refuses to recognize that you have a right to protect yourself with a firearm outside of your home. The relative lack of punishment for violent criminals combined with the inability of law-abiding residents to protect themselves is a toxic combination that only heightens the dangers for residents of Charm City.
Blaming Congress for Baltimore’s crime problem allows Mayor Young to pass the buck and to avoid the uncomfortable truth that Baltimore’s criminals are literally getting away with murder. The increasingly dysfunctional city is in desperate need of real leadership. Instead residents are getting politicians offering nothing more than soundbite solutions.