Fear of Baltimore City prompts some residents to apply for a conceal-and-carry permit

For some residents, working and living in Baltimore City is reason enough to apply for a Maryland conceal and carry permit.

“I cannot stop becoming older, but I can prevent being vulnerable,” said an elderly applicant who wanted to have a gun for self protection to go into the city.

“Then he grinned and said, ‘I don’t forget faces and I just might see you again,” another applicant wrote after being threatened at a city movie theatre. “I am more than scared. I am in fear of my life.”

As the city braces for another year of  potential record shootings and homicides, many residents feel the best way to remain safe is carry a gun.

In Focus | An in-depth breakdown of why conceal-and-carry permits are rejected in Maryland. Thursday at 6

In a public information request from ABC2, reporters looked at the reasons why Marylanders wanted to obtain a carry permit.

Last year Maryland State Police rejected  nearly 90 applications from residents seeking a gun for protection.

Check out some of these rejections here                

Of that number, half stated they needed the permit for doing business or living within Baltimore City.

The only other jurisdictions mentioned for protection was Prince George’s County.

In a statement, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said there is no correlation between law abiding citizens purchasing guns legally and increased crime. 

“It is irrational to suggest that residents are purchasing guns because of a fear of the city, when in fact the fervor around purchasing firearms in advance of more restrictive gun laws is just as great in many rural communities far outside of Baltimore,” she wrote.

Applicants included a diverse range of people, including lawyers, thespians, former city officers and doctors.

All gave personal stories for self protection.

RELATED: Conceal-and-carry permits difficult to obtain in Maryland

In one application, a person who identified themselves as a liver transplant surgeon to protect their prescription pads while traveling in “bad parts” of the city.

“As a requirement of my position, I often carry prescription pads that be used for narcotics,” the applicant wrote.

An area thespian requesting a handgun permit wrote in an application: “I park in the city garage and when I leave the theater late at night to walk back, I feel very uncomfortable and threatened by that neighborhood.”

William T. Jackson, owner of Elite People Security, a security company in Baltimore County, said he has seen the security business explode in the last decade, especially for services in the city.

“When I started this business, there were only 500 companies across the state,” he said. “That number has grown into the thousands.”

Jackson said the reason for the need has a lot to do with the effects of the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001 and the changing economic times.

“9/11 was a wake up call for many and we saw a surge in protection,” he said. “Add onto many people losing their jobs, people are going to break the law to survive.”

Jackson said he sees a lot of protection for many unique organizations like churches and small community centers that put money together to get the help.

“It seems like anyplace can be a target,” he said. “What makes us different from other services is that  fact we train effectively  and not with a video.”

Despite the application, supporters of the new gun legislation, which went into effect last October, said the stronger protocols are going to help make the city safer.

“I believe in saving lives all over and Baltimore City,” Vincent DeMarco, president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence said. “People now have to be fingerprinted and apply for a permit- this is helping drop violent crime by 25 percent.”

SEE RELATED: Retired officers struggle to obtain conceal-and-carry permits in Maryland

To protect students, Morgan State University provides an escort service to and from their vehicles and residences, within reasonable request.

“If you call our number, at any time, we will provide an escort if you have a reasonable fear for your safety,” Morgan State University’s Executive Director of Campus and Public Safety Adrian Wiggins said. 

John L. Grumbach, president of the Association of Baltimore County Retired Police Officers, said fear of going into the city is nothing new among residents.

“I was an officer for 36 years, it was the same situation back then,” he said. “The situation is just out of control.”

Grumbach said the way to improve the issue is impose stricter jail sentences for serious offenders and to review the current gun law.

“Then people might frequent the city just like I used to,” he said.

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