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Ken Harris

Armed and dangerous

Here's a sobering statistic: Nearly half the people arrested and convicted in Baltimore City for violent crimes such as murder and armed robbery had previous convictions for handgun offenses. Yet the sentences they received for illegal gun possession didn't deter them. Many were back on the streets within a matter of weeks after being released, free to commit more mayhem.

The juvenile offender convicted of murdering former City Councilman Ken Harris in 2008, for example, had served fewer than three months in jail for a handgun violation before he fatally shot Mr. Harris less than six weeks after his release. There are hundreds of cases where victims might still be alive if their...

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