Prince George’s County OKs gun-offender registry

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(NNPA)—The Prince George’s County Council approved a measure June 5 that will allow police to operate a gun-offender registry requiring residents convicted of gun crimes to register with police, check in regularly and be subjected to random visits by police.

Law enforcement officials said the policy was intended to reduce gun crime in the county. County Executive Rushern Baker has said he would sign the bill.

The measure, which is expected to take effect the end of July, requires anyone who has been convicted of a gun crime in the county to provide complete contact information to police, including an email address and any aliases. The information must be updated every six months in person and police may visit ex-offenders regularly to confirm the information.

Ex-offenders must register within 48 hours from the time they are sentenced or released from prison and will remain on the registry for three years. Those convicted of gun violations outside of the county will remain on the registry for five years. Failure to adhere to the law may result in a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail.

Prince George’s joins Baltimore and D.C., which already have gun registries.

Officials say a spike in shootings in the county, including 63 so far this year, justifies the need for the legislation. Leaders of the Prince George’s NAACP question whether the registry violates the constitutional rights of ex-offenders and could hurt their ability to find employment.

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