Gun Violence | WYPR

Gun Violence

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Senator Ben Cardin visited what must be one of the safest schools in Maryland Thursday morning to talk with students about gun violence, both in and out of school. The school has security guards, cameras and an electric gate.

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers are considering something billed as the “Comprehensive Crime Bill of 2018.” The legislation was developed in large part as a response to the record levels of violent crime in Baltimore last year, and one of its biggest impacts would be tougher sentences for repeat violent offenders.

WYPR

State lawmakers are considering a bipartisan package of bills aimed at making public schools better equipped to handle shootings.

On Thursday, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee considered a bill establishing what the sponsor called a “last line of defense,” should a shooter get inside the building.

Rachel Baye

In a largely bipartisan move, the Maryland House of Delegates voted Thursday night to ban bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas shooting last October to make a semi-automatic rifle fire rapidly like an automatic weapon.

Rachel Baye

In the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut a little more than five years ago, Maryland passed a law banning “assault weapons” and large-capacity, detachable magazines. The ban includes a long list of semi-automatic handguns and rifles, including AR-15-style rifles, like those used in several mass shootings, including last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Now Republican lawmakers in Annapolis are sponsoring a bill to remove the rifles and other long guns from the ban.

Wikimedia Commons

State elected officials are proposing competing tactics to keep Maryland’s public schools safe from a possible gunman.

Speaking with reporters after Thursday's floor session, Senate President Mike Miller said he met with senators that morning about creating a "comprehensive" package of bills aimed at protecting schools. He promised at least four bills, including some boosting school social workers and placing armed security guards at schools.

Baltimore City Health Department

Some state legislators who represent Baltimore in Annapolis are trying to increase state funding for programs designed to prevent gun violence before it happens.  The officials compared gun violence to a contagious disease at a press conference announcing the legislation Monday in South Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood.

Rachel Baye

Maryland Democrats are introducing a ban on bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas shooting in October that enables a semi-automatic gun to fire continuously without repeatedly pulling the trigger, they announced Thursday.


Dominique Maria Bonessi

As Baltimore’s homicide rate reached record proportions—343 murders this year—Mayor Catherine Pugh held a candle light vigil for the victims last night at the War Memorial.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen came to Baltimore today to talk about immigration and Central American gangs. Sessions tied that to Baltimore’s soaring homicide rate.

Sessions spoke of increases in violent crime nationwide, in part fueled by the Central American gang, MS-13, then turned to Baltimore.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Governor Larry Hogan released a plan to crack down on crime in Baltimore Tuesday, criticizing Mayor Catherine Pugh’s efforts. But the mayor was not impressed.

Hogan announced more state police patrols, more probation agents serving warrants and other initiatives. Pugh responded Wednesday morning.

WYPR

The state Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee convened a meeting Tuesday to examine record levels of violence in Baltimore — what’s causing it and how it can be stopped. WYPR's Rachel Baye spoke with Nathan Sterner about the discussion and the conclusions drawn.

Rachel Baye

The meeting of the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Tuesday morning was closed to the public and to the press, but the city and state officials who attended said tougher sentencing practices was a major focus of the discussion.

Rachel Baye

Following a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning with city and state officials to discuss rising levels of violent crime in Baltimore, Gov. Larry Hogan said his biggest concern is the number of people who are committing multiple violent crimes without serving time.

Mayor Catherine Pugh’s watered down bill aimed at imposing a mandatory minimum one-year sentence for possession of an illegal gun survived a preliminary vote in the city council Monday night.

The 8-7 vote came after opponents gathered outside City Hall demonstrate against the bill.

After months of  increased-levels of violence and multiple requests, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced her Violence Reduction Plan Wednesday. The plan contains many promises, but few bench marks.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, about the Baltimore Police Department's officer vacancies, new hiring strategy, and programs in their pilot phase to bring the department into the 21st century. 

Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh had some sharp words today for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The Baltimore City Council’s Public Safety Committee released a violence reduction strategy today, a day after community organizations pleaded with Mayor Catherine Pugh to release her plan.

Drop the Gun

Jul 31, 2017

Just over halfway through this year, Baltimore has crossed a frightening threshold: more than 200 city residents have been murdered. What can be done to stop the violence? Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, discusses the obstacles posed by stolen guns and repeat offenders. And Erickka Bridgeford, one of the organizers of a 72-hour ceasefire this coming weekend, explains how she is making a pitch for peace.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

At times the hearing on Mayor Catherine Pugh's proposed gun bill got heated. After two and a half hours, two passed amendments, and two failed amendments, the public comment period opened. Protestors immediately interrupted the proceedings that were recessed for five minutes due to the protests. Two protestors were forcibly removed by police and arrested. 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, about whether or not the gun bill introduced at City Council Monday night would actually reduce gun violence. Bonessi shares her interview with Laura Dugan, professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. Also, listen to more to the research on mandatory-minimums for jail sentences and whether or not they reduce crime.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The mayor's gun bill introduced to city council Monday night would make possession of a gun a mandatory one-year jail sentence. Currently, six city councilmen sit on the fence of the controversial legislation. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is one of those on the fence. Even though the guns are illegal, Baltimore is a tough city and her constituents tell her they’re scared.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to WYPR's City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi on the gun bill dividing Baltimore City Council. Last week Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis proposed a bill that would make possession of a gun in a public place in Baltimore a mandatory sentence of one year. That bill was introduced on the council floor last night with some councilmen, like District Two's, Brandon Scott, saying that it was a "blanket call that would send more people to jail."

Rachel Baye

Facing record levels of violence, Baltimore officials are grappling with the best way to curb the violence, Mayor Catherine Pugh met with Governor Larry Hogan Monday afternoon to strategize.

At the top of her list, Pugh said she plans to bring in a team from the U.S. Department of Justice next month to help the city strategize.

Jamyla Krempel

Anthony Lloyd is one of those kids who was doing everything right; getting good grades, going to college.

Still, he was shot in the back by a 17-year-old who was trying to steal his scooter. He survived--though, with a bullet lodged in his liver--and recently graduated from Bard High School. He says he wasn't surprised by the attack.

"You know, for me, getting shot it wasn't like, 'Oh my God, I got shot!'" said 18-year-old Anthony in an interview at his summer job at the Middle Branch Park Recreational Center. "It was like this is proof that there is a serious problem. It's proof that there is a serious problem."