Council President set to testify before Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of Senate Bills 239 and 240
BALTIMORE, MD – City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young traveled today to Annapolis to testify in support of two state bills that aim to strengthen the penalties associated with carrying illegal, loaded guns in Maryland.
The two bills, SB239 and SB240, were introduced to the Maryland General Assembly on the city’s behalf on January 31, 2011.
The first bill, SB239, would establish an 18-month minimum sentence for individuals arrested with an illegal, loaded gun. The second bill, SB240, would create tougher sentencing guidelines for felons in possession of a gun by establishing a sentencing range of five years to 15 years. These tougher sentencing guidelines would provide judges with additional options for dealing with repeat gun offenders.
“In Baltimore City, we have been doing our part to reduce crime,” Council President Young told the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee. “The Baltimore City Council has worked with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to ensure that the Baltimore Police Department has the resources it needs to function effectively. We have passed a number of pieces of legislation designed to support the efforts of the BPD to crack down on crime. But, it only takes one. One bullet shot on our streets is one too many. One tear shed because of the loss of a life is a tear too many.”
During a January press conference, Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld noted the shocking statistic that 44 percent of homicide suspects in 2010 had a previous gun-related arrest. But 82 percent of the jail time handed down for gun offenders was suspended, and the average amount of jail time served by misdemeanor gun offenders amounted to only four months.
“The message these bills sends is clear: if you are a bad guy, you will be held accountable. That is an important message for both the offenders and the victims to hear,” Council President Young said. “Those who are grieving, those whose bodies are struggling to heal from gunshot wounds need to know that we care about them. They need to know that we are doing the job that they elected us to do.”
In December 2010, Council President Young introduced City Council Resolution 10-0237R supporting Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s efforts to seek tougher penalties for those individuals arrested in the possession of an illegal firearm. The resolution was cosponsored by 11 Council members and should be adopted by the full City Council on February 28, 2011.