It calls for stiffer penalties.
Annapolis, Md (KM) A bill in the Maryland Senate would go after repeat offenders who use guns in violent crimes.
One of the sponsors of this legislation is Frederick County State Senator Michael Hough. “Last year, the Maryland Senate passed the bill 43-4. Unfortunately, due to COVID, the House never took the legislation up. So I’ve reintroduced it this year as Senate Bill 852, the Violent Firearms Offender Act,” he says.
Last year, the General Assembly adjourned earlier than normal to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Hough says the bill, if it passes, would increase the penalty for a convicted felon who uses a gun in a violent crime for a second time from five to ten years. it prevent the selling, lending or giving of a gun from one person to an individual who has a lengthy criminal record; and it would close a loophole that allows drug dealers to escape felony charges when they use firearms while dealing drugs.
“Most of the homicide throughout our state the data clearly paints the picture that there are people who are illegally buying guns; they are criminals who have long track records in the criminal justice system; many times before they’ve hurt other people, they’ve been arrested for guns; they’ve been arrested for dealing drugs. So this legislation narrowly targets this group of people,” Hough says.
While most violent crimes occur in Baltimore city, other areas of the state have not escaped this problem, according to Hough. He says Frederick County saw a nearly 40% increase in homicides last year.
The bill also require Maryland’s Commissioner of Corrections to provide a certain inmate with a reentry kit that includes clothing, an identification card, contact information on reentry services, information on Medicaid and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and public transportation.
A hearing was held on the legislation on Wednesday.
By Kevin McManus