The Facts on Tougher Sentencing for Illegal Gun Possession
This legislation would amend state laws that criminalize wearing, carrying and transporting a handgun (4-203) and restrictions on the possession of a regulated firearm by prohibited persons (5-133) by creating a mandatory, minimum sentence of 18 months and maximum sentence of 10 years for those persons who are arrested with an illegal, loaded firearm.
Statistics from Baltimore’s Gun Offender Registry show that very few offenders charged with misdemeanor gun crimes serve significant jail time.
- Eighty-two percent of all jail time imposed by Baltimore’s Criminal Courts for gun offenders charged with these crimes this year was suspended.
- The average amount of jail time served by misdemeanor gun offenders is four months.
The people police arrest today with loaded guns in their cars or on their waistbands are the same people who go on to shoot and kill and rob others.
- Forty percent of Baltimore’s homicide suspects and defendants charged with felony gun crimes – shootings, attempted murders, armed robberies – have prior gun arrests.
- On May 11, 2008, Charles McGaney was arrested in Baltimore County and charged with being a minor in possession of a firearm. On August, 5, 2008, he pled guilty, was sentenced to time served and released. Less than six weeks later, on September 20, 2008, former City Councilman Ken Harris was shot and killed in a robbery at New Haven Lounge in Northwood Shopping Center . McGaney was recently convicted of the robbery and felony murder of Ken Harris and received a life sentence.
- Timothy Rawlings was found guilty of a handgun violation involving a loaded gun on May 19, 2008 and sentenced to 2 years with 1 year and 11 months suspended and 18 months probation. He was released that day. Twelve days later, he was arrested for attempted first degree murder with a handgun.
- Antonio Stokes was found guilty of a handgun violation involving a loaded gun on March 18, 2008 and sentenced to 3 years with 2 years and 10 months suspended and three years of probation. He was released that day. Three months later, he was arrested for armed robbery.
- Caeser Rice was arrested on August 27, 2009 with a loaded .357 Magnum handgun. On October 7, 2009, he pled guilty and received a sentence of 3 years of which 2 years, 10 months and 11 days were suspended. On May 4, 2010, he was charged with committing another armed robbery and illegally possessing a loaded gun.
- James Queen was arrested on April 8, 2009 for being a minor in possession of a firearm. He was convicted on June 16, 2009 and received a sentence of 3 years with 2 years and 6 months suspended and 3 years of probation. He was arrested again on November 14, 2009 in Baltimore County for attempted robbery with a handgun.
In 2006, New York State passed a similar law and quickly saw results. The New York law reclassified the offense of carrying an illegal, loaded firearm as a felony with a 3 ½ year minimum sentence.
- In 2007, New York City posted a 17% reduction in homicides – the lowest number in more than 40 years.
- In 2008, murders by gun dropped by 10%.