City Leaders Press for Tougher Gun Laws in Baltimore
By: Ericka Kirk
We were asked to cover a story about state politics from the Baltimore Sun and I thought one the really interesting stories was the one that talked about the need for tougher gun laws in Baltimore. Baltimore is one of America's deadliest cities and top law enforcement officials are really striving to do something about it. The officials and the mayor traveled to Annapolis for the seventh year in a row in an attempt to convince law makers to create stricter policies on gun laws, insisting that this will help decrease the amount of violence in Baltimore. Attempts thus far have not been successful. Last year, the proposed legislation actually made it to the full legislature, but the session ended before a vote could be made.
As a student living in Baltimore, I agree with this statement that gun laws do need to be stricter. People claim to need guns for protection, but this means that more and more ordinary citizens will have access to deadly weapons. Personally, I think that legally authoritative figures like police men and women should be the only people allowed to posses guns. The number of violent attacks among people in Baltimore is truly astounding. This crime map of Baltimore shows recent incidents involving shootings, robberies, and other crimes associated with the use of weapons. It is frightening, because even though I feel very safe on Loyola's campus, these incidents are occurring just minutes away.
Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, seems interested in helping with this movement. In fact, she has made it a focal point of her administration, following her police commissioner's slogan "bad guys with guns." What I found to be reassuring is that police don't just want to make gun laws stricter, but they want to increase the penalties against those who break these laws. According to the article, "82 percent of first-time gun offenders in Baltimore get suspended sentences with no jail time, and the rest serve an average of four months in jail. To fix that, city officials want to increase the penalty for illegal possession of a loaded handgun or firearm from a 30-day misdemeanor to a mandatory 18-month felony." This makes me feel a lot safer knowing that officials want these people off the streets. I think this could really make a difference in the amount of violence that Baltimore is experiencing. Hopefully this problem will soon be resolved, and Baltimore will be recognized for being a beautiful city instead of a dangerous one.