I cannot support the Council bill 17-111 (Weapons – Prohibiting Handguns Near Places of Public Assembly) that is being introduced on Monday that would implement a mandatory minimum for the possession of an illegal handgun.
This bill does not and will not combat crime in Baltimore City. We know the best ways to fight crime: a quality education for our children, accessible afterschool and summer programs, job training and college readiness programs for children and returning citizens, addiction counseling for those who need it, and increased funding and the expansion of SafeStreets.
As my colleague Kristerfer Burnett noted on social media, mandatory minimums do not deter crime. I am worried that this legislation will lead to the arrest of many more Black men and women. We must turn the corner from the era of Mass Incarceration and mandatory minimums to an era of seeing drugs and crime as symptoms of larger societal problems and gear policy to treat these symptoms and problems.