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How Do We Stop the Gun Violence?
By David Magnusson
   
 
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Across the nation it appears that shootings are up.  If you listen to some talking heads on TV, you will hear several theories on why this is so. I recently heard COVID get blamed in a roundabout way.  They said that was because people have been cooped up for so long.  First, the “cooping up” that came on last year at this time has slowly eroded away since at least the autumn of 2020, thus that excuse doesn’t hold water.  Also, the vast, vast majority of people who have been “cooped up” during COVID are not, repeat, are not going out there and shooting people. 

When I mention shootings I’m not just talking about “mass” shootings where four or more people are shot and/or killed in one incident.  That is horrific enough.  Under that definition there have been 147 mass shootings in this nation through mid-April.  I am also talking the many incidents that do not rise to the level of four or more shot/killed.  It’s the one or two shot on a street corner, the shots fired in a crowded mall, the neighborhood party that is suddenly overtaken with gunfire. It is the instance when an innocent child is caught in a crossfire and their life is tragically snuffed out.

In 2003, I commanded the Miami Police Crime Suppression Unit, which served as a jump out unit, in many of the gun-crime ridden parts of the city.  After a sharp uptick in shootings where people got gunned down in cross fires, an operation was formed to stop this out-of-control violence.  It ran for a total of about four months.  In that time 80 guns were seized.  Here is the kicker though; of those 80 guns, 50 were seized in the first ten days.

I recall making my analysis of the entire operation.  The residual effect was profound.  Shootings and crimes in general decreased by double digits and remained that way for four to five months after the operation.  The one point I spoke of endlessly, and it fits like a glove today, was the fact that 50 of 80 recovered firearms were recovered right off the bat.  In other words, the word had not gotten out yet that the police had a massive operation going and if you are walking around with a concealed firearm there is a pretty darn good chance you would be going to jail.

That was my theory to my superiors once “Operation Relentless” concluded.  Prior to the operation, people felt safe enough to walk around with handguns concealed on their person. They felt comfortable doing that, not concerned that they would get caught. They did not feel they were going to be challenged on the street by law enforcement. During the operation we had no firearm discharges and thankfully, there were no instances of anyone pointing a weapon and/or firing at us. I would say we were quite fortunate.  But I would also say that it was a very well-thought-out operation utilizing a massive number of undercover officers.  It was a logical response to a rising trend that was getting progressively worse.

Are we looking at the same scenario now in 2021?  Have people gotten smug enough to carry concealed guns on them with impunity, believing that they will not be challenged by police?  If so, it is equally important to learn why they would feel that way?  What are we doing wrong?  Or perhaps more importantly, what are we not doing? Without casting my own theories, it is probably imperative that we collectively, as law enforcement professionals, look carefully and wisely into why a new comfort zone exists for the illegal gun-toting populace.  Once we can define that, we need to quickly find a way to change that perception.

It is not going to get better on its own.



Comments:
That will develop trust...just drive around in a van jumping out at "suspicous" citizens.
You quit taking guns because you were busted on social media every 10 mins and everyone knew who and where you were and what you were in. Spent 100,000 each removing guns and everybody got overtime.
No body respects jump out boys. Just another macho "Lets jack with people" fun game cops play.
Posted by LT at 7/11/2021 7:35:13 PM

I'd like to see statistics on how many illegal or stolen guns were used in the shootings as opposed to shootings that were done by legal law abiding citizens who owned the gun legally. Quit trying to take guns from honest hard working law abiding Americans and create harsher punishment for those arrested with illegally obtained arms committing these shootings.
Posted by Sasquatch at 7/14/2021 11:42:41 AM

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