Baltimore City Council passes lenient bill for illegal handgun carrying

By Shae McCoy

Staff Writer

Countless debates and heated arguing end with a forced collective agreement. By an 8-7 vote, the Baltimore City Council passed a bill that promises a tough penalty for criminals that are caught with hand guns. Originally, Mayor Pugh’s plan imposed a mandatory one year sentence for anyone carrying a handgun in a public place or setting. As the months went by, the firmness of the plan started to diminish.

While one councilman, Eric Costello, was just satisfied that everyone could finally come to an agreement, stating, “I’m pleased that we got something passed,” (ABC 2). Councilman Brandon Scott who was against the bill believes mandatory minimums do not work when it comes to reducing crime. He thinks that Baltimore will need a smarter and stronger approach to the issue. The confusion seems to be the most prevalent and consistent when it comes to figuring out a solution to the city’s rise in crime. Baltimore City Police Department’s commissioner, Kevin Davis implies that solid penalties caused New York’s homicide rate to drop over time, sending offenders to jail for almost four years for carrying illegally.

Is one year nearly enough for an offender to rehabilitate and come out to be better?  Crime is a manifestation from underlying mental health issues and each case should be taken into consideration from a different approach. Will simply locking up an offender stop them from being released and doing the same thing? No matter how long the sentence is, rehabilitation of these offenders is important.  Mental illness many times is at the root of the criminal activity that occurs in the city.  Along with enforcing stronger bills for gun carrying, there needs to be an effort made toward the mental stability of the offenders.

photo credit: Shae McCoy

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