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GPD pushes political anti-gun agenda under guise of reducing gun violence

OPINION

BY LEN CABRERA

Over 15 months have passed since the last big push to reduce gun violence in Gainesville. Nothing has changed, and the new push is more of the same: words with little action. Instead of focusing on the criminals who cause gun violence, the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) is sponsoring 13 days of activities that will make no difference and is amplifying the political agenda of an activist group that focuses more on restricting legal guns than punishing criminals with guns.

It began with a Unity Walk on Dec. 4 and a Mental Health Check-In for the Holidays on Dec. 5. Today GPD is “removing debris, trash, and undesirable items” and “going door to door sharing resources and holiday greetings with our neighbors in the Pineridge community.”

Tomorrow, Dec. 7, GPD “would like everyone to join us in making the ‘Sandy Hook Promise’ and participate in the ‘Sandy Hook Promise Survey.'” Sandy Hook Promise is an activist group that uses emotional pleas for protecting children as a cover to push for restrictions on legal gun sales and gun owners.

The promise itself sounds innocent enough: signers promise to have difficult conversations and then turn the conversation into actions to protect children. However, the top issues for the organization involve passing what they call “gun safety laws,” including expanded background checks, “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (red flag laws), policies for safe storage, an end to the sale of “assault-style rifles,” protecting kids from “ghost guns,” and banning “high-capacity magazines.” Nothing there will improve public safety in Gainesville because most of the shootings here are from handguns, not those scary-looking black rifles, and a significant number of guns seized by law enforcement are stolen, not purchased.

Here are the other events planned by GPD:

  • Dec. 8 – training on neighborhood policing
  • Dec. 9 – a special outreach night, “reserved for a special neighborhood in our community”
  • Dec. 10 – a Gun Buy
  • Dec. 11 – a Community Resource Expo
  • Dec. 12 – a police/youth dialogue
  • Dec. 13 – GPD will conduct “vehicle report card checks in residential and business areas”
  • Dec. 14 – GPD asks residents to make social media posts that encourage youth to say no to guns and violence, with an orange heart
  • Dec. 15 – GPD will pack patrol vehicles with toys and share them with youth who “take a pledge that promises not to use guns”
  • Dec. 16 – GPD will host a night of compassion in the Duval neighborhood, remembering loved ones who have been killed by gun violence.

As I wrote in July 2021, stopping violent crime is not rocket science. The simple solution involves more police and stronger enforcement of existing laws. Steven Mello from Princeton University looked at hiring grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Community Oriented Policing Services and found “large and statistically significant effects of police on robbery, larceny, and auto theft.” 

The opposite is also true: less funding for police and weak enforcement leads to more crime. Barry Latzer, professor of criminal justice at City University of New York and author of The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America, wrote: “When police, courts, jails and prisons are unable to cope with crime, their failures serve as an incentive to increased lawbreaking.” He cites a study that found half of released federal prisoners are rearrested within 21 months of discharge.

In the 15 months since that column, no one from the City of Gainesville or GPD has called for these simple suggestions that would toughen existing laws:

  • Update Statute 790.169 to automatically charge minors with guns as adults.
  • Update Statute 790.07 to include “or while under indictment” in the firearm section so firearms are treated the same as other weapons.
  • Update Statute 790.27 so that individuals selling, delivering, or possessing a firearm with an altered or removed serial number are charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Rather than pushing national talking points on crime (gun control, diversion programsprisoner releases, youth activities, etc.), GPD and the City of Gainesville should put their efforts into getting more police on the streets. They should also push the State Attorney to be more aggressive with repeat offenders and encourage our state legislature to toughen laws on criminals, not focus on new restrictions for law-abiding citizens.

  • Gun laws will never work because only law abiding citizens will obey them crooks felons are not going to stop committing crimes what needs to happen is for the sheriff of Alaucha County and police chief of Gainesville to get on TV and follow sheriff Judge tell law abiding people to get a gun learn how to use it and don’t be afraid to florida had a very good SYG law

    • Agree on all . The 3 statue changes for punishment would help, but won’t be considered in Gangsville of course. The city commission and PD enabled this mess by high property taxes, fees, GRU biomass fiasco (utility bill shock) ludicrous annual inspections of all rentals for mandated insulation and other grand ideas that drive up rental cost. These perpetuate the grand black east/white west divide by keeping potential east side residents from moving elsewhere. Stuck in thug infested areas young men are more likely to go bad. All of their programs don’t work either. Just call it “Little Chicago”. They’ve ruined a once nice place to live with their stupid, wasteful ideas.

  • How about: use a gun in a crime and you’re done. 10, 20, life… Put that on all the RTS buses instead of those lawyer ads. Fine & fire Prosecutors who drop charges…mandatory $100k bail for crimes where a gun is involved.

  • One problem is the woke DA and public defender offices are preaching down to the GPD, whom they see as inferiors for lacking law skool degree$. But it’s actually the formers who are mentally deficient.
    The people can see the fruits of their futile labors every day. It’s time to de-professionalize the justice system, and put juries in place of lawyers and judges at the top. Reduce lawyers and judges to the same role as court reporters, stenographers. And pay them no more than police officers.

    • You couldn’t describe Woke if your life depended on it.. in that insane incoherent word salad you put together you missed a point.. and that’s strengthening laws that’s already on the books.. hold state attorneys accountable when it comes to dropping violent charges.. all that comes from Tallahassee which is all Republicans.. sooooo tell that to the people you voted 🗳 in bro.. all that soapbox I’m anti Woke shiz Isn’t helping

  • This is SUCH 8uII5hit! Taking guns away from law abiding citizens is NOT going to stop gun violence, KEEPING criminal IN PRISON WILL stop it and CLOSING our Southern BORDER will help! Taking our guns away will only leave us defenseless.

  • All the demonrats and ignorant people out there want to is take the 2nd Amendment away from us. And it will ONLY give more power to the criminals in office and on the streets.

  • GPD has been doing all these programs and more for over a decade and no accurate data has been compiled or studied to see what works and what doesn’t in Gainesville. The police lie about statistics because they don’t know and will say anything to make crime stats go down. Smoke and mirrors. The prosecutors are overwhelmed with petty no victim crimes like weed, etc. Morale is low because GPD has been “forced” to keep bad cops and bad policies and created a divided workforce that looks more like a Gang than the gangs they claim to know about in Gainesville. THE TRUST IS GONE Lonnie, and you are doing nothing to restore it but throwing neighborhood parties with the people that AREN”T “justice involved” to show effort and waste money in marginalized communities. We also have a worthless and 100% fake Police Advisory Board and a city commission that couldn’t care less as long as there are no plastic straws in town. This town and GPD is run by incompetents who don’t know what to do. Don’t expect it to get any better until the next election cycle when we’ll hear the same garbage again and again. You get what you vote for or tolerate through silence.

    • GPD no longer puts their crime map link on their site anymore, either. They do not want citizens to know some hoods are worse than others because it “reinforces stereotypes” and undermines the city gov’t Soros-controlled policies. Fact.

  • Good thing Toys-R-Us is opening back up. You have to remember that the current and former leadership at ‘GPD’ had a nasty habit of making charges on minority juveniles just ‘dissappear.’
    If city hall and GPD really wanted to end gun violence they would have done it long ago.
    So, don’t hold your breath folks.

  • Bringing back the police helicopters in the city is a no-brainer. I’m sure those loons think they are saving the planet by not flying helicopters. Hopefully the new commission will right that wrong in a timely fashion. Too bad if Muffy and Jodie in the Duck Pond have to get their smelling salts every time one flies nearby.

    • Actually the same few jobless city commissioners (that never held an honest job in their life) decided not to pay their half to the ACSO to save money (and they disliked Sadie) while at the same time proposing to spend millions on free internet for the masses (which finally got voted down after $650,000 wasted on studies and other costs). Wasteful jack arses!

      • Yeah, and Saco’s mucho-retardo Spanish translation hotline got $500,000 just as the down payment/first installment.

  • Liberal gun control measures never work. These rules and laws only affect law abiding people by hampering their constitutional and state rights. Florida needs to declare war on criminals and violent crime period. When criminals understand they are the hunted maybe they will move to a criminal friendly state. People in Alachua county need to stop letting state attorneys, judges, liberal officials cover stuff up. Use your vote and your voice to change the current trend. Sue criminals for their actions, sue officials for not doing their jobs to protect the community. People don’t leave your firearm in the car for easy taking. Take it with you. A firearm does no one any good if left in a car and you get attacked elsewhere. Treat it like your cell phone. You need the cellphone to call 911. You need the firearm to protect yourself. It takes to long for police to respond. Practice and train with your firearm. Your life may depend on it.

      • He could help Alex Jones to pay an additional $473 million in punitive damages over the lies he told about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

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