Legislators from a Maryland county are planning to introduce a law that will create a gun offender registry in a fashion similar to the sex offender registry.
This new law would not create something quite as extensive as Family Watchdog, the national sex offender registry, but it would still keep constant records of the whereabouts of gun offenders. Under this plan, gun offenders would be required to personally report to the police every six months and provide an update of any crimes committed, aliases, current residence, and recent employment.
The type of crimes that would make someone qualify for constant government monitoring include anything from scratching off a gun’s serial number to committing a crime with a handgun. Anybody who doesn’t report within the specified window is subject to a $1,000 fine or 12 months in prison for each day that they are late.
Listen, all jokes aside, we understand what the lawmakers are trying to do here. They figure that a bad egg with a gun is someone who is a danger to public safety, and to an extent they may be right. On the one hand, these records will help the police keep track of gun offenders so that they can prevent or solve crimes more quickly. Nonetheless, just because something is helpful for the police doesn’t make it right. Starting a gun registry that will put gun offenders on the same level as pedophiles is probably going overboard, and will undoubtedly cause quite a bit of public outcry.
This law was sponsored by Councilwoman Karen Toles, who has been pushing for improved public safety since entering office. She is already responsible for enhancing public safety regulations for nightclubs and businesses, and has helped to establish firmer security requirements.