Letter to the Editor: Tough punishment will deter gun crime

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I, like many of you, am angry and frustrated at what’s become of American society in the last 25 years.

After the 1999 massacre at Columbine High, mass shootings (many at schools by disturbed young men killing defenseless students) have seemingly increased exponentially. When we who are now senior citizens were in school, we had the occasional after-school fight in the alley, or someone might call in a bomb threat so they didn’t have to take their history test — but in no way, shape or form did we ever fathom slaughtering our fellow classmates in cold blood.

The disconnected lost souls who commit such acts are a symptom of a much bigger problem in our culture — but that’s a separate discussion for another day.

If you follow the news, you’ll know that we have the equivalent of mass shootings every week in major American cities, with hundreds hurt and many killed. These individual gun crimes don’t grab the headlines like the mass shootings do — but they should.

To prevent these gun crimes, many call for gun control, and scream for gun control! But it’s the same old dilemma:  How do we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and kids, while still allowing law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights?

Here’s how: The solution to gun control is not gun control — but criminal control!

I faithfully read the Delaware State News’ police crime blotter. I’ll see a person charged with multiple violations, including what they refer to as “possession by a person prohibited.” Many times, they are set free awaiting trial (either no bail or low bail), and can get another illegal firearm and do whatever they want.

The solution: Lock them up!

  • All gun crimes — automatic jail and no bail until trial or guilty plea.
  • Convict someone of possessing a firearm illegally — mandatory (no exceptions) five years in prison (with time credited for jail time awaiting trial).
  • Someone who brandishes and/or threatens with a weapon during commission of a crime — mandatory 10 years.
  • Someone who injures a person by discharging a firearm in commission of a crime — mandatory 15 years.
  • And of course, kill someone with a gun and convicted of murder — life in prison with no possibility of parole.

These stiff penalties must be codified in law and not subject to prosecutor discretion.

Now — those of you are “soft on crime” and “defund the police” types will think these punishments Draconian. But I’ll tell you what — word on the street that we are serious will put a major dent in illegal guns and gun crime.

Remember — a gun is an inanimate object. It doesn’t shoot anyone by itself. The key to decreasing gun crime is to get tough (very tough) on people who commit such crimes.

John Ogorzalek

Dover

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