Election-year politics burst out at the Baltimore County Council meeting Tuesday as two Democratic candidates seeking to be the next county executive offered support for a gun control bill sponsored by their common rival: Councilwoman Vicki Almond.
Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat running for county executive, is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit adults from leaving loaded guns where children younger than 18 could find them. The measure would be tougher than a state law that sets the same prohibition, but for children younger than 16.
The council held a public hearing Tuesday for the bill that Almond introduced earlier this month and that the council will vote on at its next meeting on Monday.
“Day after day we hear about the tragic school shootings,” Almond said. The bill, she added, would be a success if it saved just one child’s life.
Johnny Olszewski Jr., one of the Democrats running in the June 26 primary election, attended the meeting and signed up to be granted the awkward opportunity to praise legislation introduced by an opponent.
The former state delegate from Dundalk commended the bill and said it’s important for local politicians to act on gun control because Congress has not.
But his appearance gave Almond the perfect opportunity to publicly challenge Olszewski’s record on gun control. In 2013, as a delegate, Olszewski voted against the assault weapons ban that the ultimately passed the General Assembly.
During the Tuesday meeting, Almond asked Olszewski to explain his vote.
Olszewski — wearing a suit and speaking as if he was in a debate — thanked Almond for the question and repeated the answer he gives on the campaign trail about the vote: That it was a mistake.
“It’s a vote I’ve changed my mind on,” Olszewski said. “I am focused on the future and the safety of our children.”