A scarlet letter for guns

Lawmakers  in Prince George’s County, Md. hate guns so much they want to brand  anyone convicted of violating one of the state’s convoluted firearm  statutes. Stab someone with a knife, and the county won’t care or take  notice of you after you serve your time. Sell a handgun that’s not on  the state’s list of approved firearms, and the Washington suburb will  mark you as a criminal and hold you up to public ridicule.


Beginning  July 27, anyone convicted of a gun offense in the county must register  with the chief of police. The person will be required to provide a  description of the crime, conviction date, home and work address and  other “identifying factors.” The offender is then forced to check in  with the registry every six months for at least three years. The county  council, which voted unanimously for the ordinance last month, said the  purpose was to help the police “track repeat offenders” and “assist in  subsequent investigations.”

Maryland’s  attorney general ruled in late June that the list must also be made  public. A spokesman for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L.  Baker III said they are “working through the process” on how to make it  publicly available. County politicians studied neighboring Baltimore  city and District of Columbia gun offenders registries when drafting the  legislation. The Baltimore list was upended in 2011 when a circuit  court ruled that the law creating it was “unconstitutionally vague and  overly broad.”


The D.C. city council started its list in 2009 after the  Supreme Court forced Washington to end its 30-year handgun ban. The list  is supposed to be an internal tool for the Metropolitan Police  Department (MPD) to monitor offenders, though the police are allowed to  share the list with any federal, state or local government agency.

Read the rest of the article in the Washington Times

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