Dems Reject Gun Violence Bill as Shootings Surge in Baltimore


Maryland Democrats rejected a bill aimed at combating gun violence as Baltimore mayor Jack Young publicly begged residents to stop shooting each other so hospitals could be used to treat coronavirus patients.

Young, a Democrat, pleaded with residents on Wednesday not to “clog up our hospitals and beds with people [who] are being shot senselessly.” But on the same day, his partymates in the state legislature voted down a bill pushed by Republican governor Larry Hogan that would strengthen penalties for violent criminals.

Hogan’s Violent Firearms Offenders Act would make the theft of a firearm a felony and increase penalties for those who repeatedly carry illegal guns or use a gun while drug dealing. The bill passed the state Senate on March 10 following a contentious back-and-forth between lawmakers. Democrats successfully removed the legislation’s mandatory minimum sentencing increase, arguing it would punish violent criminals too severely.

Following the removal of mandatory minimums and the bill’s subsequent passage, state Senate president and Baltimore Democrat Bill Ferguson lauded the legislation’s bipartisan nature, saying it included “the legislature’s priorities and some of the governor’s priorities.” Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones did not respond to a request for comment on why the bill was rejected. – READ MORE

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