A City Council committee on Tuesday weakened the gun bill championed by top city officials, including the city's police commissioner, in a hearing made all the more contentious by a number of the bill's critics.
The Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee held a hearing on a bill that would impose a one-year jail sentence for anyone illegally possessing a gun within 300 feet of a school park, public building or church. The committee unanimously approved an amendment that would exempt first-time offenders unless they are committing another crime.
The bill later passed the committee, 5-2, and now goes to the full council, where more amendments may await.
Mayor Catherine Pugh introduced the bill earlier this month with the support of Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and City Council President Jack Young.
Davis testified to the committee Tuesday. Asked how the 100-yard rule would work, he said police are drafting a map.
Councilman Ryan Dorsey, an opponent of the measure, asked Davis for a yes or no answer to the question, "Will this bill make crime worse?"
"Councilman, you don't decide the length of my answer," Davis responded.