Baltimore police chief defends bill aimed at illegal handguns

Baltimore police chief defends bill aimed at illegal handguns

BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Baltimore police commissioner Kevin Davis defended a new bill that seeks to crack down on illegal handguns, during a press conference Monday.

"What this is about is holding accountable the people who illegally carry guns and shoot and kill people in our city. The folks that are killing people in our city right now are all in illegal possession of a firearm," said Davis. "They're not on their way to BWI Airport to get on a plane, they're not on their way to a pistol range, they're not on their way to an antique gun show, they're ... resolving conflicts with gunfire."

Davis noted the city has had 605 illegal gun arrests since 2015, and all suspects were found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt - and 60 percent of the time, those people receive suspended jail sentences."

Davis thanked Mayor Catherine Pugh and the city council for their leadership in moving the concept forward.

"It's not about mass incarceration, it's not about zero tolerance. Our police department is leading the way with progressive programs," he said. "We're doing a lot to address some of the longstanding issues that impact public safety."

"People illegally carry guns in this city... and that's what this bill is addressing," continued Davis. "Carrying a gun is not an addiction. Carrying a gun is a decision someone makes."

He said the bill is worth it if "this one-year mandatory [restriction] gives someone pause because they know they're going to be held accountable."

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