Council President Bernard “Jack” Young signs in at Sen. Ben Cardin’s office. Photo via Jack Young/Twitter.
Council President Bernard “Jack” Young signs in at Sen. Ben Cardin’s office. Photo via Jack Young/Twitter.

Baltimore’s city council president went south to D.C. today to lobby for stricter gun control measures, citing his own jurisdiction’s issues with the stemming gun violence.

Jack Young is meeting with Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland’s senior Senate member, and leading members of Congress today to talk comprehensive gun reform, including everything from bump stocks to illegal guns.

“Firearms recovered in 2016 in Maryland crossed our borders from all 50 states and Washington D.C.,” Young’s office said in a release, citing a report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. His office tied the flow of illegal guns directly to Baltimore’s “historic increase in violent crime.”

Baltimore has seen a swell in gun violence this year, even from an already-violent 2016. Data covering the first 47 weeks of this year shows 916 recorded shootings in all, up eight percent from last year.

Young helped push a bill through the city council and onto Mayor Catherine Pugh’s desk earlier this year that sought to set mandatory minimum sentences for anyone found carrying an illegal gun within 100 feet of a park, school, church, public building or “place of public assembly.” Following a tide of criticism, the bill was amended and weakened to only add a mandatory $1,000 fine for first-time offenders and set mandatory terms for second-time offenders or those caught with guns connected to a crime.

Citing police data on gun arrests and suspended sentences for illegal gun charges, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis made the case in July that Baltimore’s shooters aren’t worried about getting jail time for stolen or unlicensed guns.

(The counter-arguments, of course, are research showing mandatory minimums aren’t effective, and that the very concept of them skips over the case-by-case mechanisms of the U.S. judicial system.)

Months later, Young is taking a day to lobby at the highest political level. He plans to meet with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, among others.

It appears his morning began with the Maryland delegation.

It was a pleasure to meet with our Senator Ben Cardin to discuss gun reform for Baltimore City. He knows that we must do whatever we can to stop the flow of illegal guns into our City.

— Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young (@mayorbcyoung) December 5, 2017

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...