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Those convicted of gun crimes could face longer sentences

We generally think of gun control as the purview of liberal politicians, but it appears that Maryland's Republican legislators are also getting in on the action. Those political leaders are seeking harsher penalties for felons who have committed a violent gun crime, arguing that they should not be able to receive time off for good behavior. GOP leaders intend to promote this new agenda during the upcoming General Assembly in January, according to news reports.

People who are imprisoned for violent crime that included a weapon may be eligible for release years before their sentence formally ends. In fact, most violent offenders serve just two-thirds of the mandated sentence before they are released back into the public. Republicans argue that those offenders deserve to be kept in jail for longer periods of time because of the nature of their individual crimes.

Even though Republicans have attempted to push through similar legislation in the past, it failed miserably as an amendment to the Firearm Safety Act of 2013. That particular legislation, sponsored by the state's governor, limited certain types of guns and also restricted the size of ammunition magazines. Changes to the existing credit system in the state's correctional facilities has long been a point of debate between both parties, with Republicans arguing that violent offenders should be put away for longer periods of time. Conversely, activists say that prison overcrowding is already a huge problem; if the state eliminates the credit system for good behavior, that problem will only get worse.

So far, legislation has not passed that would keep gun offenders in prison for longer periods of time. This measure could conceivably pass in the upcoming session, however, and it could change the way that criminal defense attorneys approach specific segments of the criminal legal process. Defendants in violent gun crimes cases always benefit from the assistance of a qualified, competent criminal defense attorney, who can help protect their courtroom rights and ensure equal treatment.

Source:, "Maryland Republicans plan stricter gun crime sentencing legislation in 2014" Alex Jackson, Dec. 06, 2013

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