I took this photo of the fence line where a Baltimore police officer’s car crashed early Thursday, on Pennington Avenue in Curtis Bay. The officer, Keona Holley, was shot in an apparent ambush. You can read about her at this link to The Baltimore Sun’s coverage. Here’s my Friday column on the shooting, my second column on guns and violence this week.
A Baltimore attorney, Peter Keith, wrote to me last night, offering an answer to the question: What do we do about all the guns — legal and illegal, lost and stolen — that make so much of the violence possible? Here’s what he proposed.
Pass city ordinances creating the Office of Baltimore City Gun Permits and establishing certain violations and punishment for noncompliance.
In passing legislation, invite every Baltimore citizen affected in any way by violence to appear and testify. Everyone. Let the lines form. Let it take weeks. Let there be multiple lines, all recorded, showing this is the voice and will of the people.
Create the record showing folks in our town don’t want guns.
Anyone who has a gun in the city, whether resident or person visiting the city, must register the gun.
After a six-month registration period, anyone in possession of an unregistered gun is guilty of violating the city ordinance, with a mandatory sentence of three months in jail.
Anyone using a gun in the city, whether the gun is registered or not, and who uses a gun in an attempt or actual commission of crime, if found guilty gets three years in jail, nothing less.
Create a fund for $25,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who commits murderer or attempted murder. Ask city residents, nonprofits and businesses to donate to the fund.
Engage the Ravens, Orioles, politicians, ministers, actors, rappers, Ray Lewis, Melo, Juan Dixon, everyone famous and infamous, to join in the campaign to eliminate gun violence. Why wouldn’t everyone want to support the notion that humans shouldn’t slaughter each other?
Let a lawsuit be filed. Let the NRA and Second Amendment folks sue. We have a superb City Law Department; they can defend the case and will invite every law firm in the city to join in.
Let the city ask the federal trial judge who hears the suit to spend a night in a neighborhood where shots ring out.
Let the case get to the Supreme Court.
In the Supreme Court brief and argument, invite the Supreme Court justices to spend a night with a city resident in one of our neighborhoods where the violence and gunshots have been common. Let the Trump-appointed justices rule, if they have the guts, that a City can’t do this, that their precious guns are more important than human life.
Start a new public ad campaign: TV, billboards, the internet. Declare that Baltimore is no longer the City that bleeds. We are tired of the wreckage, tired of the pain and blood and chaos. Instead, we are the City that believes every human being is entitled to life and to be free of the fear of being shot.