Lansing mayor blames illegal guns for spike in violence

Lansing mayor blames illegal guns for spike in violence
AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Violent crime is strange in a lot of ways. You’ll go for a while with things fairly peaceful, then you’ll see a massive spike it violence for no discernable reason. It’s just weird how it happens, or at least it seems that way.


In Lansing, Michigan, they’re seeing something like that.

Within the span of a week, they saw a number of shootings that left three people dead and six injured. That’s not a good week in most places.

The mayor there is blaming guns, but not all of them.

City and county officials on Monday vowed to press on with police enforcement and community violence interruption efforts following a week in which three people were killed and several others were injured in at least six separate shooting incidents.

“It’s out of control,” Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said during a news conference at police headquarters in downtown Lansing. Illegal guns “are all over the place” and “too easy to get,” he said.

“I understand these are frustrating times,” Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said. “I’m in charge of this city’s safety, and it’s frustrating to have a week like last week when we’ve done so good for so long.”

Police, nevertheless, will continue to take illegal guns off the street whenever possible, he said.

“If you want to carry a gun … we will find you, we will arrest you,” Sosebee said.


Based on the rest of this piece, I’m assuming Sosebee means carrying one illegally.

Regardless, where Schor is right is in acknowledging that these are illegal guns, meaning mostly stolen or otherwise illegally obtained, and not blaming the lawful trade of firearms for his city’s problems.

That’s, well, kind of refreshing really.

That doesn’t mean Schor won’t call for gun control somewhere down the road, but he doesn’t seem to be blaming law-abiding gun owners, and for a Democrat, that seems to be huge.

What makes this pretty shocking for people in Lansing is that a month ago, they were on pace to have one of their lowest homicide totals in years. Things had been relatively calm, then everything flared up and we get stuff like this.

Lansing has a program they’re relying on to try and prevent homicides from happening.

Schor and Sosebee said Advance Peace, an initiative that uses “change agents” to disrupt the cycle of violence by working with people in the community independently of police, helped in the investigations and is making a difference in the community.

“The Advance Peace initiative is working; it’s turning kids around who have started out the wrong way,” Schor said


That’s probably reflected in where the homicide rate was prior to this latest spike in violence, and I’m glad to see it. Prevention is better for everyone, after all.

In the meantime, folks in Lansing might want to arm themselves and be ready to defend their life because it may well be a while before things settle down there. These “change agents” might be accomplishing good things, but I doubt their turnaround time is that swift.

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