Akron police chief: Focusing on gun ownership will never curb gun violence
by Chad D. Baus
Last month, Akron Police Chief James Nice made waves when he told AkronNewsNow.com that mandatory background checks won't work to stop criminals, and that "gun buybacks are a farce."
This month, Nice is speaking more words of truth on the subject of the impotence of gun control, in an interview with Cleveland's fox affiliate, WJW:
Simply put, Akron Police Chief Jim Nice believes almost every proposal to curb gun violence that he has heard won't work.
Because Chief Nice, who used to head undercover operations for the FBI, says the proposals don’t address the main problems that lead to gun deaths.
"It makes me so mad I can't see straight," Chief Nice tells the I-Team.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut where 20 children and six adults were killed, many proposals focused on banning assault weapons and increasing security at schools.
The article quotes Chief Nice as saying he doesn't doesn't think they will help much to curb crime in his city, since most people aren't shot in schools and most people aren't shot with expensive assault rifles.
The legislative focus, Chief Nice believes, should not be on gun ownership, but rather on illegal gun possession and use.
State Senator Frank LaRose agrees.
"Less than one percent of the bad guys are committing 57 percent of the violent crimes," he says.
Senator LaRose, a Republican from Akron, is working with other lawmakers to try and write a new state law that would stiffen penalties for illegal gun possession and use. The challenge is to write a law that is both tough and narrow – one that targets career criminals without throwing away the lives of some people who have committed crimes.
"Prisons are for people who are a real danger to society," Sen. LaRose says, "and not just people we're unhappy with, but people that we're legitimately afraid of."
Sen. LaRose told Fox 8 says the goal of the state legislators is to draft a law that will "find the folks who are the worst of the worse and make sure they're in prison."
Chief Nice agreed, noting that there are not many people in society who are willing to illegally carry a gun and shoot people, but that "if you can't incarcerate those people, you will never be safe."
Earlier this year, Attorney General Mike DeWine proposed the Violent Career Criminal Act, which would change current gun specification sentencing laws and increase some penalties for offenders with two or more violent felony convictions.
The Violent Career Criminal Act calls for a mandatory 11-year prison sentence for those convicted of illegally possessing a gun, if they have previously been convicted of two or more violent felonies. Today, a felon convicted of illegally possessing a firearm faces only one to five years imprisonment.
The act would also double gun specification penalties if the offender has previously been convicted of a crime involving a firearm. Current gun specification sentences range from one to seven years in prison, depending on the underlying gun crime.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, and BFA PAC Vice Chairman.