MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Coming on the heels of an increase in gun violence across the nation, Montgomery County leaders united to talk about what can be done on a local level to reduce gun violence. On Monday, Council President Gabe Albornoz, State's Attorney John McCarthy and Police Chief Marcus Jones highlighted resources for addressing violent crime, including introducing new legislation.
Albornoz expressed his disbelief in the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a New York Law that placed strict restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in public for self-defense.
"In my opinion, guns create more problems than they solve," Albornoz said. "Given where we are with national rhetoric, this Supreme Court taking an extreme view of the Second Amendment will lead, unfortunately, to more guns being in our community."
With the hope of eliminating the sale of ghost guns within public gathering spaces in Montgomery County, officials introduced Bill 3-22, which will aim to address firearms near places of public assembly.
"There has been a spike in the number of people requesting permits to be able to purchase weapons and then carry them in a concealed format," Albornoz said. "I don't believe more guns is the solution and this bill is a reasonable approach to ensure that in our community, we keep our residents safe, while also not running a foul of the Second Amendment acknowledging we must be cautious here in our community."
The new bill would prevent a person from carrying a gun within 100 yards of a place of public assembly. However, it exempts those with wear and carry permits, such as law enforcement. The new legislation will remove the exception of those who can carry a weapon to deter guns to the greatest extent possible under local law, while remaining consistent with state laws.
Montgomery County has experienced two publicized gun violent incidents within the past weeks.
On July Fourth, a rifle was confiscated after an armed suspect allegedly fired shots at an officer resulting in a pursuit that spanned from Montgomery County to Tysons Corner, Virginia.
In another case, Jones said at least 60 shots were fired and multiple weapons were used in a "gun fight" between several people at a shopping center parking lot in Silver Spring.
Nationwide, a Crime Prevention Research Center study, shows the number of concealed handgun permits soared to over 21.51 million in 2021, a 10.5% increase from numbers the year prior, and a nearly 50% increase since 2016.