The gun-offender registry, an increasingly common law enforcement tool used by officials in D.C. and Baltimore, could help quell gun-related violence and homicides that police and county lawmakers say have become far too prevalent in Prince George's.
More than two-thirds of the murders in Prince George's in 2011 were the result of gunshots, police said.
Police reported 180 nonfatal shootings in 2011, and officers also recovered 977 guns over the year.
"These guns are not recovered from law-abiding citizens," said Lt. Col. Hector Velez, deputy chief of the Bureau of Patrol. "They are recovered from people out and about looking to perpetrate a crime on law-abiding citizens."
County Executive Rushern Baker, who threw his support behind a bill that was sponsored by all nine council members, is expected to sign the bill soon.
The measure would take effect 45 days after he gave his signature.
Residents convicted of a gun crime must join the registry soon after, which will allow the police to monitor them via their home address, workplace and other information.
Registered offenders must meet twice annually with police for three years before being released from the registry. If a gun is used in connection with another crime, offenders must stay on the list for five years.
Some leaders said they were concerned with legal issues Baltimore's program has faced. City officials have been locked in a court battle over the legality of the registry since a Circuit Court judge ruled it was unconstitutional in April 2011.
"Let's go back and look at that or wait until the case is settled in court," said Bob Ross, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "It put a damper on Baltimore and what they're doing."
Councilwoman Karen Toles, D-Suitland, said those concerns will be addressed by a resolution set to be introduced next week that establishes procedures for the police's use of the registry.
Several council members were shocked that officials don't plan to make the registry publicly accessible, even by requests under the Maryland Public Information Act. The police will keep the registry private, according to spokeswoman Julie Parker, and will share it only with law enforcement officials in other jurisdictions.
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services makes the sex offender registry available to anyone online.
Councilman Mel Franklin, D-Upper Marlboro, said state laws should make the registry publicly available.
"Under Maryland law, this would be a public list, and that is my hope," he said.