Lawmakers¬† in Prince George‚??s County, Md. hate guns so much they want to brand¬† anyone convicted of violating one of the state‚??s convoluted firearm¬† statutes. Stab someone with a knife, and the county won‚??t care or take¬† notice of you after you serve your time. Sell a handgun that‚??s not on¬† the state‚??s list of approved firearms, and the Washington suburb will¬† mark you as a criminal and hold you up to public ridicule.
Beginning¬† July 27, anyone convicted of a gun offense in the county must register¬† with the chief of police. The person will be required to provide a¬† description of the crime, conviction date, home and work address and¬† other ‚??identifying factors.‚?Ě The offender is then forced to check in¬† with the registry every six months for at least three years. The county¬† council, which voted unanimously for the ordinance last month, said the¬† purpose was to help the police ‚??track repeat offenders‚?Ě and ‚??assist in¬† subsequent investigations.‚?Ě
Maryland‚??s¬† attorney general ruled in late June that the list must also be made¬† public. A spokesman for Prince George‚??s County Executive Rushern L.¬† Baker III said they are ‚??working through the process‚?Ě on how to make it¬† publicly available. County politicians studied neighboring Baltimore¬† city and District of Columbia gun offenders registries when drafting the¬† legislation. The Baltimore list was upended in 2011 when a circuit¬† court ruled that the law creating it was ‚??unconstitutionally vague and¬† overly broad.‚?Ě
The D.C. city council started its list in 2009 after the¬† Supreme Court forced Washington to end its 30-year handgun ban. The list¬† is supposed to be an internal tool for the Metropolitan Police¬† Department (MPD) to monitor offenders, though the police are allowed to¬† share the list with any federal, state or local government agency.