Baltimore City and Gun Control – a perilous legal cliff – Part 1
Baltimore for 2017 is well on the way for a record year, now on track for 400 murders.
Mayor Catherine Pugh, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, pushed forward a new agenda, after the committee who was supposed to be providing a plan/blueprint to deal with the high murder rate, showed up to the meeting with no plan, prior released statistics, and nothing new to add.
Now, well into July, with a “murder a day” rate, and a lack of any new idea’s, there is a move to show any action.
Unfortunately, the action is a political show, pushing forward a plan to make it look like something is being done, local political action at the cost of proper legislative action.
Mayor Catherine Pugh expressed that the City of Baltimore does not have the authority to impose new gun laws because that’s regulated to the State Assembly, but based on the legislatures years of inaction and resistance, the City has decided to reference an exception based on distances that “May” make it legal for the City.
This would seem reasonable if the Mayor herself did not say that “illegal gun possession within 100 yards of a school, park, church or public building, or anywhere the public assembles” Includes everywhere. This distance measure as stated, is a sham and just a way to overreach authority. (the distance exception is for County, Corporation or special tax area. not a City.)
The second issue is the statement by Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who told objectors in the Council room, “Unless it (Gun Violence) hits your family, don’t complain.” It is the right of every Baltimore Citizen to express an opinion and “Jack” Young needs to remember that.
Going one step further, he said he’s had three family members killed by gun violence. The statement itself begs the question can he be impartial? Though there is no financial conflict of interest, it poses the question can he fairly evaluate any part of the bill or is he predisposed and tainted.
Next we have the Judiciary Committee who according to City Councilman Eric Costello, wanted to fast track the hearing for the next day, in direct violation of
Rule 10-3. Scheduling hearing – Earliest permitted date.
No bill may be scheduled to be heard sooner than the 2nd
Thursday after its introduction
They voted to suspend rule 10-3, but backed off that idea of the next day after some of his colleagues objected at the lunch. it was said Monday afternoon, that the hearing would not be held until next week at the earliest. The big question is why they needed to push the legislation with such speed. This rush to action impacts the public’s ability to schedule, attend and participate in the publication and public comment period required by law. (Update – they Scheduled it 8 days after introduction)
Murder and guns are a big problem in Baltimore, but it’s forcing a ill conceived plan that may violate state law and will be challenged, once again a legislative body (Baltimore City) instead of trying to work with Judges, they are attempting to strip the Judicial Authority of the courts by making a mandatory sentence, treading on the scope of the Judicial Branch, Imposing the removal of “good time”, that only increases the danger for prison guards, putting them in risk, because good time is the carrot that keeps jail violence down.
Crime is created by a breakdown of Family and Community values, it’s caused by a large disparity between poverty and affluence, it’s cause by a lack of opportunity and when you can’t find a job, crime happens as an action born from the human basic need for survival.
Yes, change the laws and take the time to do it right, and unlike advertised as “only a misdemeanor”, current law includes increases in time and punishment on the books for repeat offending. Let the States Attorney and Judge “own” the scope provided them by law.
Why should a population follow laws that the body who creates them is willing to ignore for a personal agenda.