PRESS RELEASE: Senate Republican Leadership Condemns General Assembly’s Failure to Address Violent Crime

Megan Miller, Communications Director

Senate Republican Leadership Condemns General Assembly’s Failure
to Address Violent Crime
Lack of action on commonsense legislation targeting repeat,
violent offenders a stain on the 2023 Legislative Session

Annapolis, Md – Senate Republican Leadership condemned the General Assembly’s failure to address violent crime and provide significant consequences for repeat, violent offenders during the 2023 Legislative Session.

“Going into this Session, Marylanders made it abundantly clear that addressing violent crime should be the first priority of the 2023 General Assembly Session, and the Democratic gerrymandered supermajority flat out ignored them,” said Senate Minority Leader Steve Hershey. “When advocating for their aggressive, expensive and ultra-progressive policies, the Governor and Democratic Leadership told members of the General Assembly that ‘public safety was a priority and ‘Maryland must lead,’ but where was this leadership on getting repeat, violent offenders off our streets and taking bold action to ensure that every Marylander feels safe in their neighborhood?”

Senate Republicans introduced commonsense bills to go after repeat, violent offenders and illegal guns, both of which had bipartisan support and were previously passed by the Senate. Neither bill was brought up for a committee vote or work session in 2023.

SB 564 Criminal Law – Theft of a Handgun
SB 744 – The Violent Firearms Offenders Act

A small measure championed by new Baltimore City States Attorney Ivan Bates to raise the maximum sentence for illegal possession of a gun from three to five years, was amended into a controversial gun control bill (HB 824) in the eleventh hour of Session.

“This was too little too late. Rushing to amend this provision during the waning days of session was an attempt to “check the box” on public safety when there were other, stronger legislative options available,” said Hershey.

“The General Assembly continues to suffer from a severe case of misplaced priorities, “ said Senate Minority Whip Justin Ready. “The General Assembly spent more time debating and passing legislation to keep birds from flying into buildings that it did debating and passing legislation to save human lives in violent communities. Instead of going after violent offenders who are terrorizing neighborhoods, the General Assembly made it harder for law-abiding Marylanders to exercise their constitutional rights to protect themselves and their families.”