BALTIMORE - At Monday's City Council meeting, council members are considering what many are calling a bold new city law. President Jack Young introduced a new bill by the mayor's office, making the illegal possession of a handgun, a mandatory minimum sentence of one-year in prison.
"They get these little slaps on the wrists," said Young. "They're right back out on the street and murdering your son, your nephew, your niece, or somebody in your immediate family."
If enacted, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says the city law would be a useful tool in combating some of the fearless gun play currently plaguing city streets.
"People illegally carrying guns in our city are the ones who are shooting and killing people and that is what this bill simply is addressed to do," said Davis.
He is not alone, once introduced, the legislative baton is then handed off to Councilman Eric Costello's judiciary committee. Before Monday's meeting, Costello announced a hearing on July 25 at 10 a.m.
"We're arresting about three people per day for possessing an illegal firearm, and letting 2 of them out on the street per day on average," Costello said. "That needs to stop."
Councilman Brandon Scott is saying, slow down. He is concerned with the speed of this bill and the idea of introducing mandatory minimum sentences, a criminal injustice he says he cannot support.
"Mandatory minimums in America, and there is no denying these statistics that poor black people, and especially poor black young men are going to end up in jail whether they are violent or not," Scott said.
The City's NAACP chapter agrees. Criminal Justice Committee chairman Hassan Giordano says members have already voted 17-0 to not support the Mayor's plan.
"These criminals are emboldened," Giordano said. "Do you really think they care about a piece of policy passed out of City Hall when they're shooting people in the middle of the daytime?"