Local Official Thinks It's Feds Place To Get Guns From Felons

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Prohibited people aren’t able to have guns. Now, I have issues with this idea in oh-so-many ways, especially since I don’t believe all felons are created equal–let’s face it, a white-collar criminal isn’t about to take up armed robbery for a vocation–but there are some people who probably shouldn’t have a gun.

Regardless, though, the law is the law.

However, when an interim sheriff in Mississippi unveiled his plans to address guns in criminal hands, a local official may have made the dumbest statement ever.

While Hinds County leadership hopes a new initiative proposed by the interim sheriff will take guns out of the hands of criminals and help curb crime throughout the county, one Jackson councilman says the county could be using those resources elsewhere because federal agents already do this.

“We’re now sending a message to the criminal element that we’re going to be very vigilant on getting these dirty guns off the street,” Interim Sheriff Marshand Crisler said.

Jackson City Councilman Aaron Banks said that’s all the more reason to let the feds handle it.

“The U.S. Attorney already has a program, that’s what they do. They particularly have jurisdiction to deal with felons and to make sure they don’t have weapons,” Banks said. “I don’t think- I think we need to focus our attention on preventing crime, being visible to deter crime.”

The U.S. Attorney General does that through the ATF. Yes, that’s ostensibly part of what they do. However, it’s also a matter of resources.

The ATF’s entire budget in 2020 is just under $1.4 billion. Now, that sounds like a lot of money. Probably because for you and me, it is. But for a law enforcement agency, it’s not.

By comparison, the FBI’s budget is over $9.3 billion and the NYPD’s is almost $11 billion.

In other words, the ATF doesn’t have the resources to go to Jackson, Mississippi, and round up all the guns in criminal hands. They just don’t have it.

Frankly, I question the wisdom of expecting the feds to come in and focus on street-level criminals, anyway. That’s really a job best suited for the local law enforcement agency, such as the sheriff’s department. They’re going to be the ones who know who’s who in the community. In fact, if the feds came in, they’d still expect local support because they don’t know the local environment as well as the sheriff’s people do.

But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. So many people have gotten comfortable just handing more and more control over to the federal government, so much so that they believe the feds should roll into town and address their community’s violent crime issue.

No, the sheriff’s approach is probably the right one. Even if I take issue with laws about “prohibited people” in some ways, focusing on armed criminals isn’t a bad way to try and address the violence issue just about everywhere seems to be experiencing.

I’d like to say I can’t believe someone would actually think the feds are better capable of handling something like this, but I can. It’s just sad that I can, though.

Dec 02, 2021 7:30 PM ET