By Brian Kuebler
BALTIMORE - Judge Alfred Nance ruled the city's gun offender registry "unconstitutionally vague and overly broad" Friday afternoon.
- How ironic. I am willing to bet this same judge was okay with the sex offender registry, but when it may affect him, it's then unconstitutional.
The ruling threatens the existence of the city's recent Gun Offender Registration Act aimed at tracking gun offenders as they are released from jail.
- Why not for life, like sex offenders?
Last year ABC2 News went on a ride-a-long with a unit as it knocked on the doors of the list's participants. Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld told us then the registry works and in 2009, only 20 percent of former gun offenders re-offended.
- Well, without the full study, they probably have a low recidivism rate without the registry.
"This is something very constructive and it taps into a lot of different aspects of the mindset of criminals," said Bealefeld in a 2009 interview.
Today reached by phone, the police department stands by the registry and its "continued and effective use in the war on guns."
- Why is everything a war?
The ruling today may open the door for other defense attorneys to continue challenging the law. The Director of the Mayor's Office on Criminal Justice Sheryl Goldstein said today the ruling only applies to Phillips' case and also stands by the registry.
"The Gun Offender Registry has been a very effective tool and we plan to continue to implement it," said Goldstein.
Goldstein went on to say both the Baltimore City State's Attorneys office and the Solicitors office are looking into the possibility of an appeal.
The Gun Offender Registry Act is only the second such registry in the country and in modeled after a similar law in New York City.