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Police Commissioner To Push For Tighter Gun Control Laws

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A weekend shooting adds fuel to the fire city officials want to set to get stricter gun laws passed in Annapolis.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the muscle being used to get lawmakers to move in that direction.

An argument in a parking lot leads to a shooting Sunday morning in downtown Baltimore.  Police were at the scene and an arrest was made.  But while gun violence is down overall in Baltimore, quick action by police after the fact doesn’t go far enough for city leaders. It’s important to law enforcers that lawmakers see who, as well as how many, are victimized by gun crime.

“I have confidence they’re going to do the best they can to find out who killed my son,” said Sherman Hector.

They’d like to do better than that: stop the shooters from ever firing the gun with enhanced penalties for carrying a loaded firearm.

“We’re not trying to take people’s guns.  We’re after criminals.  We want to hold criminals accountable for their conduct,” said Commissioner Fred Bealefeld.

But the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore consider a bill to make possession of a loaded firearm a felony goes too far.  At a firing range Monday, the group’s legislative vice president said they’re worried about unintentional consequences.

“It will impact the law-abiding citizen who unfortunately is caught transporting a firearm that does have a round of ammunition in it,” said John Josselyn.  “That’s a felony.”

Commissioner Fred Bealefeld considers the criticism unfounded but the challenge is making lawmakers see that gun crimes are not limited to Baltimore City.

“The same people that make Baltimoreans unsafe make people unsafe in Cockeysville, in Towson, in Frederick and in Ocean City,” Bealefeld said.

Bealefeld plans to meet personally with legislative leaders.

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