Maryland Democrats once again torpedo crime bill

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

If you follow the news out of Baltimore, Maryland even casually, you’re likely aware that they are still in the grips of a years-long increase in murders, shootings, and other violent crimes. Earlier this year, one of the civilian activists (a reformed gang member) who had been trying to work with the gangs to reduce the violence, wound up being murdered himself. Some hope was on the horizon this month, however, as the state government once again debated a crime bill that would finally impose harsher, mandatory sentences for violent gun crimes and eliminate loopholes that allow drug dealers who use guns to escape federal charges. Known as the Violent Firearms Offender Act, the proposal had polled well across the state. But despite the glaring need and popular support, Maryland’s Democrats in the state legislature refused to even bring it to the floor for a vote. This was the second year in a row that they’ve done this. Just to add some icing on the cake, Baltimore’s new mayor formed a task force to study slashing the city’s police budget. (Free Beacon)

Just days after Baltimore’s progressive mayor announced a task force aimed at slashing the notoriously violent city’s police budget, Maryland Democrats killed a bill that would enhance penalties for those who use guns to commit violent crimes.

The state’s Democratic-controlled House of Delegates refused to vote on the Violent Firearms Offender Act before the 2021 legislative session adjourned Monday night. For the second straight year, lawmakers rejected the GOP-backed anti-crime package, which would strengthen penalties for violent gun crimes and close a loophole that allows drug dealers to avoid felony charges when using a gun to sell drugs, among other provisions.

The move came after Maryland Democrats passed a bill requiring all rifle and shotgun sales between private citizens to go through a licensed dealer, a provision that President Joe Biden has endorsed at the national level.

This was a pathetic but predictable result. What’s really amazing is the fact that Maryland’s Democrats continue to get away with this (and be reelected) when so much of the public sees the issue entirely differently. A recent poll showed that among Baltimore residents (who bear the brunt of the gang violence damage and a majority of whom are Black) a staggering 85% supported the crime bill. Statewide, 84% of Black Marylanders also supported the bill.

How does any politician hold on to their office when they buck overwhelming support for an effort to finally get the violent crime under control? I’ve long since given up hope of understanding the inner workings of the minds of Baltimore voters in particular. They keep electing the same crew of corrupt people over and over again and then have the nerve to act surprised when their elected officials are dragged off to prison on corruption charges.

These decisions are of a piece with the state government’s recent moves to “reform” the police in the state by wiping out the Police Bill of Rights and a number of other dangerous changes. Governor Larry Hogan vetoed those bills, but the Democrats’ supermajority in the legislature quickly overrode the veto. It’s like they’re just trying to fail as much as possible.

Baltimore has a higher murder rate than some of the more war-ravaged cities on the planet. But as long as the residents of the city (and that state in general, really) keep electing the same people over and over again, it’s really hard to have much sympathy for them anymore.