Sensible gun laws are being adopted in a number of localities. Here are a couple of examples:
JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY
Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, New Jersey used the city’s police department’s need to buy $350,000 in firearms and ammunition as a way to influence gun suppliers. To bid on the contract, the companies had to explain what they do with old weapons and how they comply with federal and state background check laws.
The mayor’s policy was meant to encourage the private sector to clamp down on both illegal and straw purchases, both of which are major ways criminals get guns.
Richmond, California has implemented a plan to curb gun violence that looks at the individuals, not the weapons, to find a solution. DeVonne Boggan, director of neighborhood safety for the city, believes the solution is to find ways to convince young men not to pick up guns in the first place; not to turn to firearms to solve their problems.
Here is how it works. Boggan’s office identifies young men who are suspected of being involved in a shooting, but who have not been charged or convicted. He invites them to join “The Peace Fellowship Program.”
The program involves a team of older neighbor residents who coach the young men in setting goals and the steps they need to take to achieve them. These goals range from getting driver’s licenses to applying for college.
Boggan’s program to end gun violence began in 2007 and as of July 2014 had recruited 68 peace fellows. Twenty-five of these young men have completed the fifteen-month program. Fifty-seven have avoided being charged with a firearm assault since joining and all but three are still alive.
The program’s perks include trips abroad to Cape Town and Dubai and cash awards for staying in the program for more than six months.
The Peace Fellowship Program appears to have had real success. In January 2014, the police department announced that Richmond had the lowest number of homicides in three decades. (To be continued)