This summer the United State’s Supreme Court issued an opinion which among other points reaffirmed a citizen’s right to bear arms under the constitution’s second amendment. In reviewing the issue, Scott Patterson, Talbot County State’s Attorney stated “I fully support the second amendment as the law of the country for lawful firearm possession. However, persons who are convicted of violent crimes or certain other offenses such as drug distribution forfeit that right under Maryland law. They become ‘disqualified’ to possess any type of firearm.
“I have become increasingly concerned about what seems to be a rising number of disqualified persons in possession of loaded weapons, particularly during stops for routine motor vehicle violations.” To address this public safety issue, Patterson has reached an agreement with the Talbot County Sheriff and other police department chiefs. “One way to address this problem from a public safety aspect is to speed up bringing these offenders in front of a judge” Patterson states. “The chiefs have agreed to immediately inform us of arrests for those weapons crimes after their daily review of the previous day’s operations by their officers. That way we do not have to wait weeks for these cases to work through the district court.”
Deputy State’s Attorney Joe Coale has been tapped to oversee this program. Patterson commented that “based on Joe Coale’s vast experience and position in the State’s Attorney’s office, he is the best member of this office to address this problem. Mr. Coale heads the circuit court side of the office where the serious crimes are prosecuted. Additionally, as the attorney assigned to the Narcotics Task Force, he is keenly aware of how guns and drugs often go hand in hand.”
Lastly, Patterson stated that “I feel confident that with Joe Coale running this program, the safety of our citizens and law enforcement officers will be greatly enhanced.”