Last night, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly defended the NYPD’s now-discontinued stop ‘n frisk policing practice. The bloviating blowhard claimed it’s OK to trample citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights because stop ‘n frisk “takes guns off the street.” More firearms-related arrests = less firearms-related crime. A theory which only works if the arrests lead to convictions and, thinking out loud, incarceration. After all, removing bad guys from the streets is an actual possibility. Choking off criminals’ supply of guns to the point where they can’t get one rivals the Rock’s version of Hercules for credibility-stretching fantasy. And here’s something else Mr. O’Reilly and his fellow anti-gun elitists don’t take into account . . .
As many as half of the most serious gun arrests by the NYPD are dismissed or not prosecuted in some of the city’s more violent boroughs, according to court statistics.
State court statistics show that last year there were more cases of the most serious gun charge, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, tossed out in the Bronx and Brooklyn than in the other boroughs: 41.5 percent in the Bronx and 31.9 percent in Brooklyn.
Combined with arrests that prosecutors decline to prosecute, the Bronx saw 53 percent of those gun arrests shelved, while the number was 40 percent in Brooklyn, state records show.
amny.com‘s report backs-up the NRA’s longstanding contention that the “problem” with our gun laws has nothing to do with so-called loopholes. We’re simply not enforcing the criminal statutes that are already on the books. Here, then, is proof. And culprits both old (police ineptitude, corruption, plea bargaining) and new (“diversion programs”):
Under state law, first offenders get a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years in prison for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon while the lesser count will draw two years, said Brooklyn defense attorney James DiPietro.
But one high-ranking assistant district attorney who didn’t want to be identified said many gun possession defendants are 17 years old or younger, and if they are treated as youthful offenders, there is no mandatory minimum term.
“For every 35-year-old caught there are two 17-year-olds,” said the prosecutor, adding that some judges are reluctant to sentence a 17-year-old gun defendant without a prior record to a mandatory term . . .
[NYPD Commissioner William] Bratton also has complained about prosecutorial diversion programs, saying that in at least one case, a defendant in the program was out on bail and got picked up for a gun used in five shootings.
“So there is an individual who should never be in diversion program in the first place,” Bratton said earlier this year . . .
Many of the gun cases in the Bronx, for example, are dismissed because Manhattan federal prosecutors eventually take them as part of a program known as “Trigger Lock,” which allows prosecutors to get more leverage of suspects through stringent federal sentencing law, said one Bronx prosecutor. Bronx juries also have a reputation for being skeptical of cops, said the prosecutor.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors also take Trigger Lock cases, but much less frequently. The problem, both prosecutors and police officials said, is that federal judges in Brooklyn have questioned the credibility of police testimony in gun arrests in some controversial cases.
“They [police] had issues with bad rulings from judges who found officers had incredible explanations ,” said a Brooklyn prosecutor.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has embarked on a quixotic head-’em-off-at-the-pass initiative called FixNICS. They want legislators to “fix” the FBI’s background check system for new gun sales by being more efficient about entering criminals and mental patients into the system – rather than (or before?) expanding NICs to private transfers. The NRA counters calls for “universal background checks” (recently passed in Oregon) using the same strategy.
Wrong answer. If preventing firearms-related crime is the question, fixing the broken criminal justice system in the [strangely anti-gun] urban enclaves where it lives is the answer. I wonder why the NSSF and NRA aren’t preaching that particular gospel….