Can This Sheriff Clear 500 Guns From his Streets in 100 Days?

In Georgia this past Wednesday, Richmond County Sheriff Rich­ard Roundtree unveiled his ambitious plan to get 500 illegal guns off Au­gus­ta streets in 100 days, and he has the support of local judges and the district attorney to do it.

The announcement came after a recent rise in gun violence and Roundtree’s personal observation of the social issues surrounding crime in his jurisdiction: of this year’s murder victims and suspects, all are males, and seven of the eight victims were black.

The Augusta Chronicle reports:

“As sheriff of Richmond Coun­ty, I am saddened that so many young lives are taken or destroyed by senseless acts of violence,” Roundtree said. “As an African-American father of two boys who grew up in this county, I am horrified that we can be so divided over petty issues.”

He said too many conversations about the issue going on behind closed doors, without anything being done to combat it.

“We need to acknowledge as a community that our black kids are killing themselves in Rich­mond County,” he said.

After consulting with the district attorney’s office and Superior Court Chief Judge Carlisle Overstreet, Roundtree and his staff came up with what it believes will be the first step at stopping such crimes. The campaign will run 100 days beginning May 5, with a focus on getting at least 500 illegal guns out the wrong hands, specifically those of convicted felons. The campaign is named Sun’s Out Guns Out (of the wrong hands in Richmond County).

Roundtree said the campaign is not intended to infringe on anyone’s Second Amend­ment rights.

The sheriff’s office has set up a phone line that will be answered 24 hours a day to collect tips on any convicted felon in possession of a gun. The caller will receive a $200 reward if an arrest is made.

It’s a campaign that will depend heavily on the community’s help. The sheriff is also requesting the help of local businesses to find anyone illegally obtaining guns.

District Attorney Ashley Wright said her office supports the plan.

“For anyone who thinks an act of violence doesn’t affect them, let me tell you that they do,” she said. “This is a community issue, and it’s going to take every single person in this community to make any sort of change. You can’t do it only on Sunday mornings. We have to do it every day of the week, and we need to start today.”