Law-abiding gun owners are always blamed for the actions of criminals and the inaction of lawmakers. Case in point: New Jersey “wiped out” the previous felony gun charge for the West Freeway, Texas church murderer:
Linden police arrested Kinnunen in Sept. 12, 2016, after finding him with a 12-gauge shotgun, the same kind he used last month in the Texas church. Linden police said Kinnunen, who had been riding a bicycle near the Phillips 66 refinery, told them he was homeless and was taking photos of “interesting sites.”
He was charged with unlawful possession of a rifle/shotgun, a third-degree indictable crime that in other states would be called a felony.
In January 2017, he accepted a plea deal finding him guilty of criminal trespass, a low-level misdemeanor that state law classifies as a petty disorderly persons offense.
The Star’s review of every gun charge in Marion County from 2009 to June of this year found that prosecutors — Democrat and Republican alike — dismissed 3,059 gun charges, including 1,508 felony counts. Among those dismissals were 371 charges for possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
The Star’s findings include:
• More than half of felony gun charges were dismissed, usually in plea agreements.
• Possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon — the charge specifically aimed at getting violent criminals off the streets — was dismissed in 41 percent of cases.
• A change in the state’s criminal code that began July 1 reduced the jail time for possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
There are no serious deterrents for prohibited possessors who continue their illegal acquisition and illegal carry of firearms. Milwaukee:
The FOX6 Investigators pored over five years worth of data from 2011 to 2015 involving thousands of cases where convicted felons were arrested for illegally carrying a gun.
The findings are eye-opening.
Three out of every four felons arrested in Milwaukee County for possession of a gun do not go to prison. More than half aren’t even convicted.
From 2011 to 2015, police referred 3,637 gun possession cases to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. The FOX6 Investigators found charges were never filed in 37% of them — that’s more than one in three.
Even when felons are convicted of having a gun in Milwaukee, they don’t always go to jail — at least not for long.
The FOX6 Investigators found 20% serve less than one year in jail and 75% serve less than three.
“If we can’t put the felons in possession of firearms in jail, why are we surprised that we’re awash in guns?” Chief Flynn asked.
Apparently “gun sense” excludes actually prosecuting felony gun charges and strong deterrents for repeat offenders who drive the crime rate.