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Public safety proposals including making the theft of a handgun a felony, pass the Senate

STATE HOUSE
Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 12:39:01-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Republican public safety proposals passed through the Senate with bipartisan support on Wednesday.

These proposals include:

  • Making the theft of a handgun a felony, not a misdemeanor.
  • Closing the “drug dealer loophole”.
    • Under this legislation, the loophole would be eliminated and selling drugs while in possession of a gun would be defined as a violent offense.
  • Allowing for interlocutory appeals so that prosecutors can keep firearms charges in criminal cases.
    • Without this provision, Senate Republicans say what would have been a conviction for armed robbery would be reduced to a conviction for simple robbery, if the court excludes evidence of a weapon, resulting in a greatly reduced sentence. This measure allows the state to target violent gun offenders.
  • Expanding the definition of absconding to include leaving a court-ordered stay in an addiction treatment facility as part of their parole and probation without authorization.
    • Currently, there are no consequences for those who leave in these circumstances. Under the new provision, this would be a violation of the terms of that individual’s parole and probation.

“We’ve heard the voices of everyday Marylanders and have responded to their calls for commonsense and effective solutions to combat the violent crime crisis that is plaguing every part of our state,” said Senate Minority Leader Bryan Simonaire. “These measures attack this crisis head-on and will help keep violent offenders off our streets. I am grateful to the Republican members of the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee who have worked with their colleagues across the aisle to secure bipartisan support and finally move these initiatives forward.”

These proposals will now move on to the House.