With kids back in classrooms all over the country, the issue of guns in schools is once again back in the news. In Memphis on Thursday a student at a K-8 school shot another student, and there’ve been a number of incidents reported over the past couple of weeks regarding students who’ve been discovered with firearms on school property.
What should the consequences be for a teenager who brings a gun to school with them? We’re obviously not going to throw them in prison for the rest of their lives, but shouldn’t an action like that result in something beyond a slap on the wrist and some time on probation? And yes, sometimes the punishment really is that light. Two years ago, 17-year old Jacorey Davis was found with a gun in his bag at his high school. A stolen gun, mind you. One that was spotted when Davis posted a video to Snapchat of him waving it around. The school resource officer found out about the video and was able to arrest Davis, but he was sentenced to just two years of probation in May of 2019.
Now Davis has been charged with second degree murder, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm; accused of murdering a man names James White, who was riding his motorcycle in the New Orleans suburbs when he was shot and killed last year.
White, 34, an Algiers father of three, was shot the evening of July 31, 2020. He was riding his motorcycle on Wayne Avenue near the intersection with the Westbank Expressway when someone began shooting at him, according to authorities.
White was hit several times and died at the scene.
… Davis was arrested by Gretna police Sept. 6, about a week after Hurricane Ida made landfall, following a disturbance at a convenience store in the 1000 block of Franklin Avenue, according to Gretna Police Deputy Chief Jason DiMarco.
Davis walked out of the business, and officers were watching as he put a gun into a vehicle, DiMarco said. He was detained, and officers discovered the warrant for his arrest in the homicide investigation.
White’s murder happened a little more than a year after Jacorey Davis was placed on probation for bringing a stolen gun to school. If Davis, who was 17-years old at the time of his arrest, had been charged with violating the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act, he could have faced five years in a federal prison. In fact, even under Louisiana state law Davis was eligible for a five-year sentence, though with time off for good behavior it would have been more like three years. Theoretically Davis could have received another five years for possessing a stolen gun, and if those sentences had been served consecutively the 17-year old would have spent six years or so in prison.
Instead, he walked away with zero prison time and just two years of probation. If the prosecutors are correct about who was responsible for the death of James White, then that probationary sentence sure didn’t have much of a rehabilitative impact on young Mr. Davis. But then, why would anyone honestly expect that it would? After all, he brought a stolen gun to school and his only punishment was being expelled and put on probation for a couple of years. I’m sure that taught Davis a lesson. Unfortunately, the lesson was that even if you get caught, it’s no big deal.
The state of Louisiana had not only the opportunity but the responsibility to intervene in the life of Jacorey Davis two years ago. The laws were in place to ensure actual consequences.. The evidence was there to convict him. And yet Davis walked. A little more than a year after Davis left the courtroom a mostly-free young man, the family of James White wept bitter tears as they grieved over the death of the father of three young children. It will be up to a jury to decide if Jacorey Davis bears any responsibility for Davis’s murder, unless of course prosecutors once again offer the young man a plea deal too good to pass up. Davis is one of two men who’ve been arrested and charged with the murder of James White, and I’d bet money on prosecutors offering one of them a deal in exchange for providing testimony against the other.
Gun control activists constantly bemoan the “lack of commonsense gun laws on the books” when their real concern (at least if less crime was their goal, as opposed to fewer guns) should be what’s happening with the laws already in place. Then again, if their concern was less crime and not fewer guns, they wouldn’t really be gun control activists, would they?
So they’ll keep demanding new laws at the expense of our rights, while the criminal justice system will continue to dole out stern talking-tos and probationary sentences to guys like Jacorey Davis for taking guns to school. And yet again it will be up to us as gun owners and Second Amendment activists to point out both the folly of the gun control lobby’s agenda and the failings of our courts in cases like these.