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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "gang"

Chicago mayor goes after Ted Cruz on guns… poorly

Westlake Legal Group 3128e5b4-9140-4658-9392-eb60534c3732 Chicago mayor goes after Ted Cruz on guns… poorly The Blog murder rate mayor Lori Lightfoot Guns gun control gang Chicago background checks

In case you didn’t notice it on social media, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has gotten into a bit of a spat with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The subject is guns and gang violence, something that Ms. Lightfoot is finding to be a largely intractable problem in the Windy City, though some modest decreases in murders have been recorded in the past few months. Rather than sticking to Twitter to hash this out, the mayor landed herself an op-ed slot in the WaPo this week to stake out her case against Cruz.

The mayor starts out well enough, quoting one of Cruz’s tweets about how she should focus more on locking up violent criminals and preventing convicts and felons from illegally obtaining firearms. In other words, enforce the laws we have on the books rather than dreaming up new restrictions to inflict upon the law-abiding. They both seem to agree on at least part of that position. But Lightfoot then goes a bit off the rails, claiming that the real problem isn’t Chicago. It’s Indiana.

Sixty percent of firearms owned or used illegally recovered in Chicago come from outside Illinois. These guns don’t recognize state lines or city boundaries. Cruz said the five U.S. cities with the highest murder rates “have had Democratic mayors for decades and aggressive gun control policies — none seems to be working.” He’s making my case for me: As long as people can drive from Illinois to Indiana and purchase a personal arsenal without a background check, Chicago’s gun laws will always be as weak as those of the closest permissive state.

The consequences of this situation are deadly. A gang member from Chicago bought at least seven illegal guns from someone in New Mexico. Two of those guns were used to commit homicides in the city, including the execution of a 9-year-old boy, Tyshawn Lee, in 2015. Tyshawn’s death was preventable.

Whew! Where to even start with this mess. First of all, if sixty percent of the illegally owned guns used in Chicago crimes come from outside the state, that means forty percent were obtained in Chicago/Illinois. That’s nearly half and it’s a lot, so I wouldn’t be bragging too much about that number.

Up next is her bizarre claim that people can go to Indiana and “purchase a personal arsenal without a background check.” I’m not sure if any of Mayor Lightfoot’s aides have mentioned this to her but background checks are federally mandated. Some states may add layers above and beyond the federal requirements, but Indiana requires background checks like every other state. Sadly, criminals frequently go to people without an FFL to obtain their illegal firearms for some strange reason. That’s kind of the point Cruz was making.

To support her case, Lightfoot cites the trial of Anthony Morgan, a Chicago gang member who purchased seven weapons in New Mexico, two of which (that we know of) were later used in gang murders in Chicago. What she fails to note is that Morgan was unable to legally purchase any weapons without a background check either. The man in New Mexico purchased them for him and shipped the guns to Illinois. It was a completely illegal straw purchase, so no new law would have prevented it. Ony enforcing the existing laws and stopping such purchases would have slowed down Morgan’s gang.

She then goes on to blame the federal government for “loopholes” in gun laws, again suggesting that disqualified people are buying weapons without a background check in a willy nilly fashion. She also tosses in complaints about how Republicans haven’t banned “assault weapons.” As has been repeatedly pointed out, the number of people killed each year by rifles of any kind, not just “assault rifles,” is less than the number of people who are beaten to death by someone using their bare hands. Gang members tend to eschew rifles, preferring something easier to conceal and dispose of. That’s why they almost always use handguns.

I commend Mayor Lightfoot for at least working on this problem and the reduction in homicides seen in Chicago this summer. But if she really wants to get into a debate on whether or not our current gun laws are being enforced and if new laws would make any difference, she needs to do better than this.

The post Chicago mayor goes after Ted Cruz on guns… poorly appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group 3128e5b4-9140-4658-9392-eb60534c3732-300x153 Chicago mayor goes after Ted Cruz on guns… poorly The Blog murder rate mayor Lori Lightfoot Guns gun control gang Chicago background checks  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A new plan to deal with Baltimore’s gang violence

Westlake Legal Group MarilynMosbyFB A new plan to deal with Baltimore’s gang violence The Blog task force strike murder rate gang baltimore

Just yesterday we talked about the City of Baltimore and how they are currently on track to break yet another record for murders this year. As I said at the time, this is not an impossible situation to address, but it will take time, hard work, a lot of resources and, perhaps more important than all the rest, the will to make some tough calls and get the job done.

Now we’re learning that the city’s leaders have been working on a plan to begin to address the crisis. In a welcome announcement, an officer from the DEA sketched out the plans for a permanent strike force being established in Charm City, combining federal, state and municipal resources that will target gang leaders, major illegal drug distributors and the most violent criminals on the streets. The details make it sound as if this will be a serious (and much needed) ongoing effort, but questions remain about some of the key players involved. (Baltimore Sun)

A new federal “strike force” comprised of detectives, prosecutors and federal agents from across the region will begin work soon on a long-planned effort to target Baltimore drug gangs and their Mexican and Dominican suppliers, who have been flooding the city with heroin, fentanyl and other illicit drugs for years.

Hoping to reduce the record number of homicides and overdoses in the city, the team already has begun working a handful of cases together, and this week secured nearly 75,000 square feet of office space in Southwest Baltimore so its members can move into a shared headquarters. Officials say that will speed up the identification, investigation and prosecution of some of Baltimore’s most violent gang leaders.

“We’re teaming up to go after the bad actors in this city who are threatening to destabilize it,” said Don Hibbert, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Baltimore field office and a key organizer behind the effort. “Simple as that.”

This is all being organized under the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program. The list of talent they are bringing in sounds impressive, including permanently assigned officers and agents from not only the state and municipal police departments but the DEA, BATFE, FBI, Homeland Security, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

I’m not going to throw cold water over these efforts because it sounds like they’re building a serious crime-fighting team here. The one area of concern, however, is the involvement of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. You may recall her disastrous involvement in the city’s woes starting after the Freddie Gray riots. Since that time, she’s generally shown more interest in prosecuting police officers than gang members.

But who knows? Perhaps the seriousness of Baltimore’s current murder epidemic has finally sunk in and she’s ready to start putting some of the worst of the bad guys behind bars for decades. It’s long been claimed that a significant percentage of the murders in that city are being committed by a relatively small number of serial offenders from the various gangs. If they can bring them in and lock them up until they are retirement age, the just might start bringing the violent crime rates down and returning some sense of normalcy to the community.

But the other missing piece of the puzzle is the resistance of both municipal and state legislators to pass tougher gun crime laws. Until that happens, this strike force may simply become a larger version of the revolving door Baltimore currently has running in their jails.

The post A new plan to deal with Baltimore’s gang violence appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group MarilynMosbyFB-300x156 A new plan to deal with Baltimore’s gang violence The Blog task force strike murder rate gang baltimore Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

3 injured in 2 separate Fairfax County shootings

Three men were hurt in two separate shootings Tuesday afternoon, which Fairfax County, Virginia, police said may have been gang-related.

Police got the first call around 4 p.m. for a shooting on Telegraph Road. Shortly after, they responded to a report of another shooting a few miles away.

“[The shootings] happened within minutes of each other and about two miles apart,” said 2nd Lt. John Lieb, a police spokesman. ” … We do not believe that this was a random act of violence and we’re exploring the possibility that it’s gang-related.”

Lieb said gunshots were exchanged in the 6400 block of Telegraph Road, then exchanged in the 2700 block of James Drive.

None of the three victims suffered life-threatening injuries.

Police recovered a vehicle from James Drive which was believed to be involved in the earlier shooting on Telegraph Road. They are searching for a second car believed to be involved in both shootings — a black four-door Mitsubishi sedan.

Police said detectives interviewed witnesses and are following several leads.


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Baltimore’s code of silence is thwarting the police

Westlake Legal Group BaltimorePolice Baltimore’s code of silence is thwarting the police Violence The Blog Silence police gang baltimore

Jack Young, the new Mayor of Baltimore, came out this week with a badly needed message for the city. With nearly two dozen shootings in just the previous week, Mayor Young pleaded with the residents of Baltimore to help the police clamp down on gang violence. And while parts of his message may prove unpopular with some residents, others were quick to applaud him. (CBS Baltimore)

Mayor Jack Young made a passionate plea to members of the community on Wednesday to stop the bloodshed. Mayor Young said during his plea that members of the community should speak up.

“Everybody knows what’s going on, they [are] in your families, and you know what they are doing, turn them in,” he said.

There have been more than a dozen shootings in Baltimore since Monday, and Mayor Young voiced his frustration.

“Everybody wants to say we are not doing anything,” Young said. “But my question is, what are we doing as a community to say enough is enough and to start reporting and turning these people in”?

Some residents responded by saying they call the police with information all the time but it doesn’t help. Others argued that it’s suicidal to “turn them in” and people are understandably afraid.

“People are afraid to speak up,” Kenny Ebron said. “What benefit is it going to help a person to come forward to give information that’s going to jeopardize their family.”

Wednesday evening, there a benefit basketball game at Frederick Douglass High School for one of the city’s latest homicide victims- well-known comedian and athlete Gerald Brown.

I’m not going to pretend that I know what it’s like to live in a neighborhood with a serious gang violence problem. I’ve been fortunate enough never to have been in that position, but I can imagine that it must be daunting. But at the same time, the Mayor makes a very valid point. If you have a son, a nephew, a brother, or even a husband or father, you certainly must know if they’re involved in something they shouldn’t be. If they don’t get up in the morning and go to school or to a job every day, if they are out until all hours of the night and hanging around in dangerous locations, there’s something going on.

The police have anonymous tip lines. You don’t have to be seen sneaking into the police station or talking to a cop on the corner. If you live in the community and you want that community to survive (to say nothing of yourself and your family and friends), there’s only so much you can expect from law enforcement if they’re not getting any help. We’re not even to the halfway mark of 2019 yet and there have been 145 murders in the city. (That number may have ticked upward by the time you read this.)

I’m impressed that the new Mayor is willing to step up and say something that may be politically unpopular in the interest of finally slowing the bleeding a bit. Baltimore hasn’t seen a year with less than 300 murders since 2014. And we’re talking about a city with only a bit more than a half million residents. There American cities more than ten times that size where fewer killings are registered. This is not an impossible hill to climb because it’s being done elsewhere. Baltimore can do better. The city can be made safer, but it will take the cooperation of the citizens along with the willingness of elected officials to make some tough decisions.

Let’s all pray that Mayor Jack Young is the man who can finally bring it all together and begin gaining some ground in the fight against gang violence during his brief time in office. (He’s not running for a full term for himself.) Lord only knows the citizens of Charm City need and deserve some relief.

The post Baltimore’s code of silence is thwarting the police appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group BaltimorePolice-300x159 Baltimore’s code of silence is thwarting the police Violence The Blog Silence police gang baltimore Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

New Baltimore Mayor has a “unique” plan to end gang violence

Westlake Legal Group boxing New Baltimore Mayor has a “unique” plan to end gang violence Violence The Blog mayor Jack Young gang boxing baltimore

With the official departure from Baltimore City Hall (at long, long last) of former Mayor Catherine Pugh, leadership has temporarily passed to the new mayor, former City Council honcho Jack Young. But it won’t be enough for Mayor Young to simply sit around the office pointing out that he doesn’t have any million dollar self-dealing schemes selling children’s books to the University of Maryland Medical System. Pugh left Charm City with a lot of very serious challenges to be overcome. Not the least of these is the staggering murder rate, primarily at the hands of the city’s many gangs.

Never fear, citizens. Mayor Young has a plan that perhaps makes up for its dubious prospects with its stunning novelty. All too often, when some of the young gangsters have a beef with each other they immediately look to settle the score with illegal handguns. But under the Mayor’s plan, they’ll set the weapons aside and settle their differences in the boxing ring. (CBS Baltimore)

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young has a suggestion on how the city could help end street beefs — a public boxing ring.

“You know gun violence is something that has been plaguing this city for 10 years,” Young said at a rally against gun violence Sunday, “and you know the murder rate in this city and non-fatal shooting rate in this city has increased. I’m not happy with it and neither should the citizens of Baltimore.”

Young said the city can find other means to settle disputes: “There’s mediation. You know if they really want to settle them, we can have them down at the civic center — put a boxing ring up and let ’em go a box it out.”

“The best man win and the beef should be over,” he added. “Those are some of the things I’ve been thinking about — hoping we can get these people to put these guns down.”

Your first reaction may be to scoff and nobody could blame you. After all, HBO’s iconic drama series, The Wire, wasn’t just a great television show. It was pretty much a documentary with the names of real people being changed to avoid lawsuits.

But even with that said, could this conceivably work? If you set up a boxing ring and invite the gang bangers to come down there and settle their differences that way, would anyone show up? Sure, it seems rather unlikely. If there are going to be a bunch of cops and elected officials hanging around, people with criminal records may be reluctant to approach. Also, if one person is noticeably bigger than the other or has a reputation for being proficient at fisticuffs, the smaller of the two has little incentive to climb in the ring. And what’s to stop the (sore) loser of the bout from coming back later with a Saturday Night Special and settling the matter permanently?

But hey, if it doesn’t cost too much, why not give it a try? It’s not as if anything else they’ve done has been working all that well.

His other idea might have at least a little more promise. How about an official system of mediation? You wouldn’t want to have police officers handling it, but perhaps the word could be put out that some civic and religious leaders are available in a neutral space for the two sides to sit down for a session of arbitration. Perhaps some leniency from the Baltimore PD for the gangs that agree to participate could be offered.

I realize these probably sound like crazy or even hopeless plans, but Baltimore is basically a killing field during the summer and neither the city nor the state has been able to do much to curb the violence. New ideas are needed, and if the new mayor can cut down on the violence even a little it will be better than nothing.

The post New Baltimore Mayor has a “unique” plan to end gang violence appeared first on Hot Air.

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