Bills Signed To Increase Penalties For ‘Bad Guys With Guns’

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 – Anne Kramer and the Associated Press
Governor O’Malley signed two bills into law today that would strengthen the sentences given to those convicted of having loaded guns during a crime.

The legislation among more than 200 bills signed by O’Malley during a ceremony at the State House.

Commissioner Fred Bealefeld says on average the sentence given to handgun offenders in Baltimore is four months.

“The criminals that get the benefit of that sentence think it is joke and they think it is a mockery,” says Bealefeld. He says they end up committing more crimes.

One bill would strengthen the sentencing guidelines judges can use for repeat gun offenders and the other creates a minimum sentence of 18 months for anyone found with a loaded gun during a crime.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and the Commissioner have been pushing for the tougher sentences for several years.

“This is not the end of our work. This is an added tool to put that kind of pressure against these villains who want to do their dirty deeds,” says Bealefeld.

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