NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


April 24, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

GUN TRAFFICKING UNIT CHARGES WASHINGTON COUNTY MAN WITH ATTEMPTING TO ILLEGALLY PURCHASE HANDGUN

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that charges were filed against an individual as part of Operation Crime Gun, his illegal gun prosecution initiative. A criminal information was filed in Howard County Circuit Court against an individual in connection with his filing of an application to purchase a handgun with the Maryland State Police.

Gerald Edward Downs, II, 45, of 19835, Boonsboro, Washington County, was charged in a three count criminal information with False Application to Purchase a Regulated Firearm, Perjury, and attempting to illegally possess a handgun by claiming on the application submitted December 14, 2001, and which he signed under the penalties of perjury, that he was not the respondent in a protective order. Downs is alleged to have in fact been subject to a protective order at the time he applied.

Downs is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for a conviction for filing a false application to purchase a firearm is three years incarceration and a $5,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a conviction of perjury is 10 years incarceration, and the maximum penalty for attempting to illegally possess a regulated firearm is five years incarceration and a $10,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Cease Fire Unit of the Maryland State Police and will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General, Special Crimes Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, in connection with a partnership the two agencies have formed to further efforts to combat handgun violations statewide. Funding for Operation Crime Gun comes from a grant received from the Governor''s Office on Crime Control and Prevention.

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