After five people were shot during a homecoming event on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore earlier this month, the school announced plans to build a wall around the campus in order to limit access and improve public safety; a move that drew jeers from the gun control group and Brady subsidiary Team Enough.
Gun safety laws > building walls. https://t.co/i1yvvbqoTx
— Team ENOUGH (@Team_Enough) October 12, 2023
As I pointed out at the time, none of Maryland’s restrictive gun control laws prevented the shooting from taking place, so it seemed like an odd flex on the part of the anti-gunners. In fact, the first suspect arrested and charged in the shooting is just 17-years-old, so he wasn’t legally allowed to possess a gun to begin with.
Now authorities have released more information about the second suspect, who’s still at large and on the run. According to federal officials, 18-year-old Jovon Terrell Williams was already a wanted man when he allegedly opened fire at Morgan State, with the feds charging him with a variety of criminal offenses over the summer.
In a press release Monday, The U.S. Marshals Service said a previous arrest warrant had been issued for Williams on June 15, charing him in a guns and drug conspiracy case that was being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
U.S. Marshals have been searching for Williams since July 14, when the agency was referred apprehension authority by the DEA.
The federal agency has also offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to Williams’ arrest, with Metro Crime Stoppers and the ATF offering a reward of up to $9,000 for tips leading to an arrest and charges filed.
The Baltimore Police Department has described Williams as “armed and dangerous.”
What “gun safety” law does Team Enough believe should have been in place to stop Williams and his underage accomplice from allegedly shooting five people on a college campus? Morgan State is already a “gun-free zone” under Maryland law, so banning guns from college and university campuses clearly wouldn’t have prevented the attack. Neither suspect legally possessed their guns or were old enough to purchase a handgun from a licensed gun dealer, so “universal” background checks (which are already in place in Maryland) wouldn’t have made a difference.
To be fair, I don’t think building a wall around the campus of Morgan State University is going to keep every bad actor in Baltimore off campus, but I can at least see the rationale behind the decision. Team Enough’s insistence that the problem is simply a lack of gun laws, on the other hand, is downright nonsensical given the restrictive nature of Maryland’s gun control statutes.
There are a couple of steps that could have been taken that might have prevented this shooting. A larger law enforcement presence on campus might have dissuaded the suspects from ever pulling the trigger, and if there were any armed citizens present they might have been able to stop the attack before five people were injured. But it would also be helpful to know what kind of previous charges, if any, the suspects racked up as juveniles. I tend to doubt that the DEA, IRS, ATF, and U.S. Marshals would have had Williams on their radar if he’d kept his nose clean until he turned 18, but I suppose it’s at least possible that’s the case. It’s far more likely, however, that Williams was already known to local authorities long before the feds started keeping an eye on him, and I suspect that there were previous opportunities for intervention that were brushed aside in favor of a plea deal or a brief stay in juvenile detention.
It’s not about putting new “gun safety” laws in place. It’s about enforcing existing laws, including prohibitions on violent acts that all too often result in a plea bargain and a slap on the wrist. Team Enough can pretend otherwise, but the truth is that if gun control worked at stopping incidents like this Baltimore would be one of the safest cities in the country, and we never would have heard about Jovon Terrell Williams in the first place.