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Baltimore Lawmakers Work To Strengthen Gun Legislation

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore lawmakers take the lead on “get tough” gun legislation.  The General Assembly is considering a bill to expand penalties for repeat offenders.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains what that could have meant for one Baltimore police officer.

It’s up to the cops to catch them, the prosecutors to convict them and the courts to keep them.

“I’m here to explain why tougher legislation for gun offenders would have had a direct effect on my life,” said Officer Todd Strohman.

Last November, Strohman was on patrol when he stopped a man he suspected of carrying a gun.

“I told him to take his hands out of his pockets and he smiled at me and whipped out his gun and shot me in the neck,” he said.  “The fear of God was in my wife’s eyes, my father cried in front of me for the first time, my mother and sister could barely look at me in my condition.”

The shooter had been arrested 10 times; five of them were gun charges. 

Baltimore Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are asking lawmakers to increase the mandatory minimum for gun offenses from a flat five years to five to 15.

“Maryland’s most violent offenders keep offending over and over and over again,” Bealefeld said.

Some members of the House Judiciary Committee suggest making better use of existing laws before adding new tools to the box.  Mayor Rawlings-Blake offered assurances that is being done with better cooperation between the police, the prosecutors and the judges.

“It’s a three-legged stool.  You need all three legs to be in balance; otherwise, the criminals win,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Strohman has every intention of continuing his job in a few weeks with a bullet still lodged near his heart.

State’s attorneys in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County say expanding the gun sentences to five to 15 years adds torque to the arm-twisting that gets the guilty to plead and keeps them locked up longer.

The city and counties also support bills to include crimes committed with long guns like shotguns and rifles in mandatory sentencing.

More from Pat Warren
Comments

One Comment

  1. Scott's County says:

    Oh, yeah. Just what ultra-liberal Maryland needs: more un-enforced criminal sentences and more restrictive anti-2nd Amendment gun laws designed to harrass and penalize legal and law abiding gun owners with needless laws such as banning high-capacity gun magazines and denying concealed carry permits for self-defence. My position? Punish severely, felons with guns committing felonies with their guns! Leave us law-abiding gun owners alone to protect ourselves, homes, and families. No more anti-gun legislation or gun owners like me and our beloved NRA are going to B–ch slap you again with the US Supreme Court’s ruling of June 28th, 2010 that stated that all law-abiding Americans have a Constitutional Right to “keep and bear arms”. Punish the criminals with guns–not us law-abiding gun owners.

    1. DJHotLan says:

      Did you even read the article or just felt like ranting about the title? It IS for the increased punishment of CRIMINALS that get convicted of violent crimes involving handguns. It says nothing of punishing the law-abiding gun owners or taking away your rights to own them. The first paragraph of the article says “The General Assembly is considering a bill to expand penalties for repeat offenders.”Unless you are a repeat offender, your rant about gun laws means nothing to this article. Instead of getting on a news website to throw your point of view around, try doing something more productive for what you feel is your cause because I highly doubt someone is gonna read your rant and think “Hmmmm, he’s right. Let’s change things and do exactly what he said!

      1. RDNKKKGRL says:

        u no i did read the article and if it werent for our stinkin rotten government these law breakers robbing people wouldnt be out in the first place and they should b in jail from the beginning not beeing slapped on the wrist and told to go out and do it again u no this is just another attempt to take our constitutional right”the right to bear arms”away but u no wat wen guns r outlawed only outlaws will have guns and they can try to pry my cold dead hands away from my guns wen i die!!!

  2. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

    Baltimore can’t even enforce or convict the criminals that break the law now, so how do they expect to enforce newer and “tougher” gun laws. If you want gun crime to go down, how bout passing a right to carry law. Once those punk ass want to be thugs start running in to armed citizens, the attitude will change. And don’t give me the “i don’t want to live in a wild west city” cause the city is a crime infested place already. At least give the good people who live there now the opportunity to defend themselves. Its not like the City of Baltimore can do it now! I have a loaded .45 in my home ALL the time and it has never got up and went out of the home and killed anyone. People kill people whether they use a knive or a bat or a gun. It just goes to show what idiots we have running our State and Nation for that matter. Whats next, cars? No, what about a belt, wouldn’t want to strangle anyone. You can’t fix stupid!

    1. Nightowl says:

      If that is true, how come the murder rate is so much higher here than in places where they don’t have so many guns?

      take all the criminals w/ guns and all those NRA idiots & let them shoot it out til they’re all gone & the rest of us can live safer.

      You can’t fix stupid, but you can keep guns out of their hands.

      1. Michael says:

        Nightowl,
        You’re a moron. Everyone knows why the murder and crime rate is as high as it is here in Baltimore… lack of accountability and punishment for a persons actions. Back 30 years ago Policemen were reverred and looked up to. Now with all of the street trash prowling and destroying Baltimore, cops have lost their authority and respect. These two things combined are what’s fueling the hate and discontent among the populus and spurring the crime in this area.

        I do believe in the right to own and carry weapong. You have to remember though, it’s not the persons whom legally acquire weapons that are commiting these criminal acts. It is the persons who are obtaining weapons illegally, black market or stealing of the weapons, who are commiting these crimes. Last time I checked, it was illegal for any convicted felon to obtain a firearm… how do you think they are going about getting them? :Legally? I thtink not.

        It’s not fair to gun enthusiast to say, because of the illegal activities of others that you may not own a particular _______.. I’ll put it into another context for you, say there are tons of drivers out there who wreck their vehicles into others, some deaths occur, some injuries occur. Then it turns out that the person stole the car, wasn’t liscensesd to have it or uninsured…. now they pass legeslation and say that their going to limit which cars people can own because of these illegal activities. You can’t have a sports car because of the activities of others…

        Doesn’t make sense does it? Well, that’s my point. Gun legislation limiting the ownership of weapons isn’t justified when it comes to persons whom would like to own the weapons, go through acquiring them in the proper channels and aren’t criminals.

        (Yes, I know gun control and car accidents are vastly different, it was just stated as a comparisson sake)

      2. Squaregrouper says:

        Nightowl, The violent crime rate in Maryland is much higher than PA, VA, DE and WV (all which touch MD and allow concealed carry by law abiding citizens)The problem is that the CRIMINALS still have guns, and because they are criminals they carry concealed weapons anyway. I would love to carry a concealed pistol, but because it is illegal in MD, and I am a law abiding citizen, I don’t. Did you know that a retired Navy Seal or Green Beret is not “qualified enough” to get a concealed weapons license in MD?

      3. Michael says:

        Squaregrouper,
        You can’t forget the Marine Recon units either. I am a former Marine Sniper, saw combat plenty of times. Having a sidearm on my thigh saved mine and my buddies lives on a few occasions. And since 2002 when I’ve been out of the military, I can’t even carry a knife with a 4″ blade on it let alone a sidearm…. ridiculous.

    2. RDNKKKGRL says:

      OH HELL YEAH I AGREE WITH U AND IM TOTALLY PROTECTED BY GOOD OLE SMITH N WESSON ALONG W/A BENELLI NOVA 12 GAUGE PUMP SHOTGUN THATS LOADED WITH BUCKSHOT AND A FEW RIFLES ETC.ETC.ETC.AND YES OUR GOVT OFFICIALS ARE A BUNCH OF FREAKIN IDIOTS!!!!

  3. Blinky says:

    It is time to change the Constitution as the right to bear arms isn’t working out so well, is it?

    We Americans are more likely to be killed by a gun than are people in some countries in lawless states & civil war!

    We need mandatory 20 year sentences for anyone caught with a gun- no parole, no ands ifs or buts. Countries where gun ownership is banned or strictly regulated are safer and I want my kinds growing up in a safe America!

    1. Michael says:

      Blinky,
      Name a country where gun ownership is banned and where it’s safer? I agree with you on the mandatory sentencing, but not on the changing of the constitution bud.

    2. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

      Please move to China. Thank You.

    3. RDNKKKGRL says:

      THE CONSTITUTION CANT B CHANGED THEY DIDNT MAKE THE CONSTITUTION JUST SO THE GOVT COULD CHANGE IT A MILLION YRS LATER!!! PERSHEY SHOULD JUST TAKE ALL THE CRIMINALS OUT BAK TIE EM TO A BIG OLE OAK TREE AND HAVE SOME GOOD OLE FASHION TARGET PRACTICE IF YA KILL EM OH WELL U KILL EM IF U DONT THEN THEYLL JUST HAVE TO LIVE W/BEEING PARALYZED,HANDICAPPED OR WATEVER ITLL SURE TEACH EM A LESSON CAUSE U NO WAT GUNS DONT KILL PEOPLE PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE SO LEAVE OUR GUNS THE HELL ALONE

  4. Scott's County says:

    Hey, anti-gun Ultra-Liberals: I will never give up my guns–never ever! Even if the 2nd Amendment ever gets overturned–I’ll still be armed to the teeth with my AR15’s, AK47, and eight pistols. If guns are ever banned, you can bet that the criminals won’t be handing in theirs. Therefore, I won’t be handing in my guns either! Oh, guns are so dangerous? What about the savge attacks of September 11th 2001? No guns were used to commit this single greatest act of mass muder in US history. Box cutters, which can be bought at any Home Depot, were used by the terrorists to hijack those jumbo jets. You anti-gun ultra liberals are so stupid! You make me sick! Since we’re going to tear up the US Constitution, then let’s also get rid of the 13th Amendment to re-enslave human beings. But, how about this time we enslave only white women so that we can keep them off the corporate ladder. How about that Blinky and Nightowl? There, the US Constitution that you two hate so much is now gone with the start of tearing out my beloved 2nd Amendmend.

    1. Michael Aldaba says:

      HELL YEA BROTHER…. MY VERISON OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING YOUR TARGET . I

  5. Michael Aldaba says:

    Wow , how many idiot ‘s do we have in our state goverment? If a Thug “Street Trash” want a gun …they’ll get it . Do you honestly think they care about your law’s . How about giving some right’s back to the law biding citizen’s . So, we can defend our self’s . HAY…IT WORKS FOR TEXAS!!

  6. keller says:

    Aldaba!!! It’s Keller! what’s up man. I’ve got a Glock 22C i live in essex and i will NOT give up my firearm. we need more veterans to run for office to make swift changes.

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