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News Maryland Baltimore County

Chief Johnson to be honored at White House

Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson will be honored at the White House on Thursday along with eight other local leaders who have taken steps to reduce gun violence, the Obama administration said Monday.

Johnson testified at an emotional Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on federal gun control proposals early last year, just weeks after the shooting massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school. The Democratic-controlled Senate ultimately failed to pass any legislation on the issue.

The event Thursday is part of an administration initiative that brings leaders to the White House to discuss changes they have made in their communities. The president is not expected to speak at the event, which will be closed to reporters but streamed live online.

Johnson was named police chief by then-County Executive James T. Smith in 2007 and became chair of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence in 2012. The partnership is a coalition of national police leadership groups.

In that role, Johnson has called for extending background checks to all firearm purchases, limiting high-capacity magazines to 10 rounds, banning new semi-automatic assault weapons, and improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The White House event will be live streamed at 10 a.m, Thursday at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Other leaders will include a pastor from Pittsburgh, a violence prevention advocate from Austin, Texas, and two advocates from Newtown, Conn., whose family members were victims of the 2012 shooting.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jfritze

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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