Mayor, Governor to discuss solutions to Baltimore's violent crime rate

Mayor to seek stricter gun laws
Posted at 4:04 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 06:17:19-04

As shown in surveillance video released Monday, the bullets fired by the men at the BP gas station in Northwest Baltimore killed Louis Cody Young last weekend, but they touched many more in the city.

"Day by day, hour by hour. You just try to keep moving through it. You know it is just not going to be any relief in the near future."

Cody was the stepson of prominent defense attorney Warren Brown, a man who admittedly built a reputation defending suspects much like the ones he now sees taking his stepson's life in the video.

And this week, the Baltimore crime wave kind of kept going like that.

Tuesday we learned Dion Smith, the brother of Baltimore Police Spokesperson Chief T. J. Smith, was also shot and killed in his West Baltimore home.

Because of surveillance video in that case, police were able to make a quick arrest, but it didn't lessen the striking reality; two well-known faces of the criminal justice system stung by the violence it is meant to prevent.

"It happens,” Brown said, “We are not immune from it as you are seeing most recently here in Baltimore."

The pace is historic, the effects ubiquitous.

It is enough to draw the governor's attention.

Larry Hogan is scheduled to meet with Mayor Catherine Pugh to discuss solutions.

A part of that is this idea of stricter gun laws, at least within the city.

Pugh is advocating for a felony charge to be connected to illegally carrying a gun.

"What we want if first time offense will continue to be a misdemeanor,” The mayor said Friday, “[But] If you are caught a second time, you ought to serve the time and it should be a felony."

A stricter penalty for illegal gun possession is a tool Baltimore Commissioner Kevin Davis has been lobbying for years, but this law had been a nonstarter in Annapolis.

But now he says he is buoyed by the governor and mayor's planned conversation and the willingness for Hogan to finally put this on the table.

"I think that is where the governor really exercises his roll at the bully pulpit and gets us as a state to a better place, but if it can't be done at the state level, I know Mayor Pugh is interested in doing something Baltimore specific," Davis said.

It's a penalty even defense attorney Warren Brown wants to see.

More convinced now, he says guns in Baltimore are too prevalent, the trigger pullers too emboldened.

"The law is needed. These guys need to know they are going to go to prison for five years without parole for merely carrying that gun on the street," Brown said.

The meeting with the governor and the mayor is scheduled to happen Monday.

Mayor Pugh says she will be available to talk about it following the discussion.