Baltimore council waters down proposed mandatory minimums for illegal guns
By Chris Eger
Two were arrested after a scuffle following lengthy hearings this week on a controversial proposal to establish a mandatory minimum sentence for those found with handguns near Baltimore schools, parks, and other public buildings. (Photo: WBFF)
After a public hearing degenerated into arrests in Baltimore on Tuesday, an amended draft ordinance designed to bring strict sentencing for some found with guns passed out of committee.
The proposal, which originated with Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office, was passed 5-2 by the Judiciary Committee after hours of sometimes emotional hearings were briefly interrupted by the arrest of two people following a melee, as reported by local media.
The measure originally aimed to criminalize the carry or transport of a handgun, either openly or concealed, within 100 yards of a public building, park, church, school, or “other place of public assembly” with a mandatory penalty of one-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
As modified this week, first-time offenders would not be eligible for the mandatory sentence except in cases where the illegal handgun they possessed was used in a crime. Also, the state’s attorney’s office could use discretion in charging individuals with violations of the city ordinance should it become law, skirting the issue entirely.
However, even diluted from