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Posted: 8/26/2001 2:22:40 PM EDT
[url]http://www.cincypost.com/2001/aug/25/guns082501.html guns082501[/url] Communal guns new headache for police By Jennifer Edwards, Post staff reporter The gun may be concealed in shrubbery on a street corner, kept in a box in an open garage or even stashed under high school bleachers. Though hidden from the community at large, its location is well-known to the handful of people who have plans - always illegal plans - for it. And through frequent borrowings by those who take it for a few hours or a few days, then return it to the same spot, it becomes the firearms equivalent of a library book - something that can be borrowed again and again by multiple people. Law enforcement officials refer to it as a ''community'' gun, a new, worrisome phenomenon that is part of a proliferation of illegal weapons on Cincinnati streets - and that has led to a spree of unprecedented violence since April's riots. Since April 11, more than 100 people have been wounded or killed in Cincinnati, compared with about 30 shootings during the same period last year. Many of the cases are unsolved, involving victims who refused to cooperate with police. ''In my 25 years of law enforcement, I have never seen anything like this,'' Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said. ''It's not necessarily the guns that are the problem. It's the people that are using them.'' Police stress that while illegal guns always have been available, people now seem more eager to fire them. ''Up until now, the hoodlums on the streets decided it was just a status symbol to carry a gun,'' said Cincinnati detective Dick Gross. ''Now they're using them on each other.'' In addition to shootings in the city having more than tripled, there are other indicators of the growing lawlessness in Cincinnati: Gun seizures: Since January, police have confiscated at least 550 weapons, compared with 425 by this time last year. Gun indictments: In 1999, 92 indictments for carrying a concealed weapon were issued, a number that grew to 155 in 2000. So far this year, 116 people have been indicted. Use of high-caliber weapons: At crime scenes throughout the city, investigators increasingly are finding spent rounds from sawed-off shotguns, .380-caliber and 9mm handguns instead of the usual .22-caliber guns, incident reports show. Community guns: Hamilton County juvenile court records show three cases are under prosecution involving teens who allegedly committed crimes with guns stashed in known, easily accessible hiding spots in neighborhoods - in one case, under the bleachers at Norwood High School. ''I am not aware of a problem of this magnitude in the city before,'' said Chris Tardio, special agent in charge of the Cincinnati office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. ''You do your best to stop it and then sit around and scratch your head, going, 'Gee, why isn't this working'? '' Local law enforcement officials credit the riots for driving up Cincinnati's crime rate, which typically had been low in the past compared with other comparably sized cities. ''It's absolutely bananas out here right now. We were 10 years behind the rest of the major cities before the riots,'' said
Link Posted: 8/26/2001 2:23:37 PM EDT
Cincinnati Police Officer Calvin Johnson, who on July 3 was shot at but not hurt while patrolling the West End. ''That caught us up about five years in just a couple of months,'' he said. ''Now we've closed the gap and we're seeing this crime catch up with what was normally a conservative city. Until there's a sense of consequences out there and law and authority gets back on top again, the criminals are going to push the envelope as far as they can.'' Calling the sharp increase in shootings a ''crisis,'' Police Chief Thomas Streicher recently formed a 70-member Violent Task Force. Since hitting the streets July 25, the unit has arrested more than 585 criminals - including 84 of the city's Most Wanted felons. To attack the front end of the problem, Streicher also organized a new, nine-member investigation squad to focus on black market guns sales. Working closer together than ever before, the ATF and Cincinnati police are investigating two gun cases and recently seized eight rifles and semi-automatic handguns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from a convicted felon in Over-the-Rhine. Plans also are in the works for ATF agents to train task force members on how to recognize and track illegal guns. ''Some of these guns are very cheap,'' said Lt. Kim Frey, the Cincinnati police gun squad commander. ''For $129 or $139, they can buy a 9mm handgun. It's a cheap weapon, but it still will kill you.'' Handguns may not be sold in the city limits, but shotgun and rifle sales are permitted. Few guns used in crimes were bought directly from federally licensed gun dealers, records show. Most of Cincinnati's crime guns change hands at least once before landing in the hands of people committing offenses, according to the ATF. Traditionally, crime guns come from ''straw'' buys - when someone who legally can purchase a gun does so for another person who cannot because of a felony conviction, Tardio said. Nabbing illegal gun dealers is a difficult task, officials concede. Most guns recovered are found on the street, during arrests or while officers conduct drug-related searches. ''People tend to protect their gun dealer like their drug dealer,'' said Sgt. John Newsom of Cincinnati police's Homicide Unit. ''A thug out on the street is not going to give up his drug dealer.'' Leslie Isaiah Gaines, a former Hamilton County judge turned evangelist, regularly walks the streets through Over-the-Rhine and the West End with volunteers, talking one-on-one with teen-age boys and urging peace. Youths tell him on those walks, Gaines said, that ''guns are all over the place.'' ''The young men tell me it's flooded with guns out here since the riots,'' Gaines said. ''The guns are rampant, and the violence is rampant.'' Publication date: 08-25-01 Copyright 2001 The Cincinnati Post, an E.W. Scripps newspaper.
Link Posted: 8/26/2001 2:46:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/26/2001 2:50:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By warlord: ...Handguns may not be sold in the city limits...
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Sounds like that has done alot of good.
Link Posted: 8/26/2001 2:53:58 PM EDT
Bullshit . Sounds liek the story that we fabricated abotu the Iraqies tossing babies out of incubators during their Kuwaiti invasion. Makes us feel good to pass another law, further restricting our rights.
Link Posted: 8/26/2001 2:54:41 PM EDT
Lived Here For 38 Yrs There Are Just No Figuring Out Its The Idiots that are using them!!
Link Posted: 8/26/2001 2:55:10 PM EDT
That's an excellent idea. [size=4]That virtually neutralizes Project EXILE[/size=4] since the cops won't catch many bangers carrying any more.
Link Posted: 8/26/2001 2:59:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hielo: Bullshit . Sounds liek the story that we fabricated abotu the Iraqies tossing babies out of incubators during their Kuwaiti invasion.
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Hmm...I thought the Kuwaitis fabricated that story.
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