ANNAPOLIS - Marylanders who use guns when committing violent misdemeanors could no longer escape prosecution under a bill passed Thursday by the state Senate.

Currently, misdemeanors committed in Maryland are subject to a one-year statute of limitations, meaning people can't be prosecuted for the crime one year after it was committed.

The bill, which passed 36-10, would eliminate that limit for violent crimes committed with a firearm.

"The state's attorneys said we need this tool, can you fix this," said the sponsor, Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery County. "This is how it is for other major crimes."

The bill now goes to the House, where it is scheduled to be heard in committee on Wednesday.