Bipartisan Bill Aims to Target Repeat Gun Offenders

SALISBURY, Md. – Maryland lawmakers are introducing a new bill that would increase penalties for gun crimes.

The bill has support from both Republicans and Democrats, and was previously introduced in 2021, but failed to gain traction.

The bill proposes increased fines and jail time for those convicted of gun crimes.

State Senator Johnny Mautz, an Eastern Shore Republican who represents part of Wicomico County, says the bill would target repeat offenders such as Austin Davidson, who was charged with the murder of Wicomico County Sheriff’s Corporal Glenn Hilliard and had previously been convicted in a 2019 armed robbery at a Baltimore McDonald’s.

“We just had a horrific incident, the murder and slaying of one of our Sheriff’s Deputies,” Senator Mautz said. “And that had no implication on lawful gun ownership.”

Firearms trainer Tim Otwell of Salisbury welcomes lawmakers focusing on holding firearms offenders accountable, rather than punishing law-abiding gun owners.

“For those who are actually committing crimes and using a firearm in an unlawful act,” Otwell said, “a stiffer penalty would be a much greater deterrent for them to commit that crime than just a broad spectrum bill that is going to hurt just the honest citizen who is abiding by the law.”

Senator Mautz adds, “This should be a priority. Focusing on criminals using firearms is the top priority and should be the top priority.”

The bill is being introduced as an emergency bill, which means it could become law quickly if passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor. The bill is currently being considered by a committee, and there is no timeline for when it may be put to a full vote.

In addition to the bill on gun crime penalties, Republicans are also introducing measures to eliminate bail for repeat violent offenders, make the theft of firearms a felony, and increase penalties for illegally possessing weapons. These bills are part of a larger effort to address gun violence in Maryland.

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