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When asked how to reduce “gun crime” the NRA and gun rights advocates have a simple solution: lock up criminals who carry or use guns when they commit a violent crime. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a longtime fan of gun control, has seen the light. The Democrat’s proposing mandatory minimum sentences for criminals who commit a crime with a firearm: three years for anyone committing a violent crime while in possession of a gun and five years anyone caught using a firearm in a crime. Democratic State Senator Lena Taylor disagrees . . .

In testimony at City Hall, Taylor maintained that mandatory minimum sentences are a bad idea generally, and wouldn’t work to curtail the city’s firearms-related crime. She says she has the data to prove it. The money shot from the Mayor: “We can talk for 50 hours about data. My data is he committed a violent crime and he’s using a gun. What’s there to talk about?” Could this Road to Damascus moment be the start of a new effective anti-firearms-related crime push in the Democratic controlled cities where these offenses are increasing? Watch this space.


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  1. Boy that lady sure did look Like she was a little pissed off didn’t she She’s like no mandatory minimum sentencing And I’m like if you’re caught doing the crime then guess what you going to do the time And if you’re caught using a gun to do the crime you’re going to do extra time and that’s the way it should be We don’t need gun owners like that in the United States We don’t need criminal element to make our community safer sorry that’s an oxy freaking moron

    • Mandatory minimum sentences are a horrible idea. They feed the prison industry which we in turn end up paying for. Not to mention they remove the ability of juries and judges to sentence appropriately for the severity of the crime.

      • Supporting data?

        CA’s 3 strikes ballot initiative has resulted in some of the problems you mention. Notably for non-violent drug offenses. At some point, voters may decide the criminal justice system is costing too much and rescind the requirements. Or decide to ship offenders off to lower cost private prisons in AZ or NV.

        The recidivism rate is also very inexcusably high. Dept of Corrections should be renamed Dept of Confinement – scant evidence of “corrections”.

      • I think we can all agree that the victim of a violent crime (including armed robbery) is at risk of death or serious injury and is justified in using deadly force to defend himself. A violent criminal who survives long enough to go on trial is already doing better than he should expect. Therefore, I think a fair sentence for any violent crime should be incarceration for the rest of the criminal’s natural life. The only exception would be for mental illness as determined by a panel of psychiatrists. Then, the perpetrator would be confined to a secure mental hospital until a court could be convinced that he was safe to release.

        I’m skeptical that better rehabilitation programs would have much effect on recidivism. Criminals had the opportunity to learn enough in school to earn an honest living but rejected that in favor of a life of crime. What is special about a prison program that would make them change?

        I’m not familiar with the details of California’s three-strikes law. If it included non-violent crimes, it was badly written. For them, restitution and community service are better alternatives. Prison (or mental hospitals) should be reserved for the ones too dangerous to let run loose.

        • “What is special about a prison program that would make them change?”

          “School officials have tracked their graduates, finding that the recidivism rate for Five Keys graduates one year out is 44 percent compared with 68 percent of other inmates.” Source:

          Not sure about > 1 year, but believe it is positive too. Program’s been operating for 10 years so data should be available.

          Would like to see something like this in Santa Clara County, CA where I volunteer in jails. Yesterday 3 guards were arrested for murder in the beating death of a mentally-ill inmate. He was described as docile and harmless by fellow inmates. Unfortunately, the details are behind a paywall. Reaction has been shock and expect some heads will roll.

          Guards I know are professional. 3.5 stars on Yelp

        • I completely agree with your sentencing guidelines. You are in error that criminals learned enough in school to choose between a decent life and one of crime.

          The causes of criminal behavior are complex. Some one doesn’t go, “let’s see get a job or do crime.”

          Murder laws don’t prevent people from killing other people. Incarceration however means though we pay for it those people are off the streets.

          The difference between a crook and a non crook is reward. Poor children in NY who were given a prep school education, including tennis lessons etc. out score the kids from the best schools. So there is a fix but it includes fixing other things.

      • For drug offenses (which shouldn’t be offenses anyways) I agree. Years in prison for possessing plant leaves is a policy designed to create criminals, not reduce harmful crime.

        But for violent offenses, I fully disagree. If someone tries to murder another human being, they should be made an example of every. single. time. Make the penalty for rape and murder so outrageously high that only the most self-destructive would even consider it.

        Concealed carry essentially proposes the same idea – make the would-be criminals stop and think: “is knocking over this 7/11 worth my life?”

  2. Most of the demorats in these cities are in the pockets of criminals. They are only interested in making it hard for law abiding citizens to get guns. Mandatory sentencing is a no no.

  3. The faster you get criminals back out on the street, the faster they can destabilize society, and create fear. Fear drives elections, bigger government promises safety. Rinse and repeat.

  4. They shouldn’t have mandatory sentencing. Ownership and possession of a firearm is a right guaranteed within the bill of rights.

    Incarcerate them for their crimes of violence against their victims. Not for possession of a firearm.

    • I believe the idea is minimum mandatory sentences for the use of a firearm in a crime. Not for possession of a firearm. Though that might be a good idea for violent felons who should not have a gun. Though they really should have been locked up already. But your point is well taken. How about minimum sentences for anyone that is guilty of a violent, unprovoked crime against another person ? No matter what tool they use.

        • Yes, this is a tough problem.
          Philosophically, how exactly do you rationalize different penalty levels for:
          – gun-robbery;
          – knife-robbery;
          – blunt-object-robbery;
          – strong-armed robbery?

          Same levels for rape; or murder. Does it make sense? Does it matter?

          Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing. What do we want? We want to win respect for our RKBA.

          By arguing for strict enforcement of gun laws – violent and non-violent alike – we invite the challenge you raise. And, we can respond: ‘Yes, that’s right. Jr. will be incentivized to leave his gun at home and choose cutlery instead. He will rob, rape and murder with a knife. And, a few years from now we will be back here in committee discussing increased penalties for crimes-by-cutlery.

          Thereafter, we will be back discussing tire-irons and bats and golf-clubs. And, registration forms, NICS checks and 4473 forms. And there will be no less blood in the streets for all our efforts.

          But we MUST do SOMETHING! Yes, and that something is to put Jr. and his sister in prison until they can decide what their priorities in life will be.

          Until then, putting OFWGs in jail is not a superior solution to Jr’s and his sister’s life-priority problems.

        • How about give them sentences for the violent assault and robbery, and leave the weapons out of it. Mugging someone with a knife or a baseball bat is just as violent as mugging some with a gun.

          What freaks me out is the people in the comments that want special penalties for “gun” crime. All that is saying is guns are more dangerous that knifes and bats because they are scary.

  5. Dems will always fight against longer prison time. They want all felons to be able to vote. So long as they vote democrat. Nevermind the fact that felons not being able to own a firearm is unconstitutional.

    • Citizens have rights. The social contract is between citizens and the state by definition, and rights are the obligations of the state to the citizen under the social contract, by definition. Non-citizens are outside the social contract by definition.

      Felons are individuals whose heinous crimes amount to renunciation of citizenship. Felons have zero rights and only such privileges as society may grant them on a given day, which can be withdrawn at any time, with or without reason, for whatever cause seems sufficient at the time. See also the Norse words “nith,” “utlagr” and “vargr,” for one banished and stripped of all legal rights for life as a punishment for a heinous crime by a jury of his peers at a meeting of the Althing.

      Felons are Mr. Bad Example. Don’t be like them.

  6. In Senator Lena’s mind the gun is the problem. Not the person who pulled the trigger who is just a misunderstood person who should not be punished. That is the Liberal Gun Grabber mindset, unfortunately. The Major’s idea makes a lot more sense then Senator Lena’s viewpoint.

    • Periodically, I read about mothers blaming white dealers for bringing guns into their community. Even if the mothers are correct, no one is forcing their sons to pick up the guns or commit crimes with them. It reminds me of the white guy who, in the early days of integration, complained that black guys would be screwing his daughter. A wag suggested, if that were the case, he needed to teach his daughter better morals. (Personally, I don’t see any difference between black guys screwing his daughter and white guys doing the same.)

      Locally, a twice convicted murderer and one-time gang member is being released from prison to be an anti-gang counselor. (I think he should stay in prison.) The mother of one of his victims is outraged. I would sympathize with her except that her son died in a drug deal gone bad. Sorry, mama. Your son was a fool who paid the ultimate price for his foolishness.

      • Remember, everything is Whitey’s fault. Everyone else is victims, willy-nilly, of Whitey’s horrible schemes.

        Is Dayshawn in prison for dealing drugs? RACISM!

        Did white people legalize drugs, and now Dayshawn is dead from an OD? RACISM!

        Are the cops going to the slum neighborhoods, carrying out stop-and-frisk searches of known thugs and gangbangers? RACISM!

        Have the cops abandoned the slums entirely? RACISM!

        Do white people recognize blacks as having the same Constitutional rights, and allow them to buy firearms? RACISM!

        Do we stop allowing blacks to possess firearms, as she seems to want? RACISM!

        No one else is morally responsible for anything–and that means, if you choose to buy what she’s selling, that non-whites aren’t even moral actors, and have the same moral status as animals, if that. I wonder if she’s thought the implications of what she says she wants all the way through.

  7. If they start enforcing existing laws that target criminals who use guns, they’ll have fewer excuses to scream bloody murder for more laws that target law-abiding gun owners.

    It’s all about going after the OFWGs from the NRA who aren’t shooting or killing anybody.

    Wrong demographic.

  8. “I grew up around guns. My mother took me to the shooting range, exercised her use of guns for recreations and protection and had beautiful pieces of art that were guns. Guns should not be feared, in fact, shooting can be a fun sport. Guns are machines with an awesome power which must be respected and exercised appropriately. Guns are pieces of art, crafted just as cars, boats, other items we treasure, that must be cared for. The concealed carry of guns must also be respected, exercised appropriately, and cared for.”

    -Lena Taylor (D) Milwaukee

    Mayor Barrett, on the other hand, is engaging in his usual distraction tactics. Because the gun charge is never filed in Milwaukee, he can advocate for all the laws he wants.

    • You are likely correct. Mayor Barrett hasn’t seen any light on gun control. He realizes this is all he could get through the state legislature and is taking what he can get so he can say he “did something”. Since the Milwaukee County DA is interested in restorative justice and diversion programs, when not pursuing political enemies of his union steward wifey poo, the chances of his office actually going for full (ie long) sentences is minimal. Then factor in most county judges also subscribe to the restorative justice and diversion model, the chances of Milwaukee’s criminals going to prison for long stretches are nil.

    • Good to hear that Jason. Two dumbocrats arguing. Like me agreeing with Garry streetlight MCCarthy saying we should sentence criminals for gun crime-when his REAL agenda is total civilian disarmament…

  9. Florida did this sort of thing, called 10-20-LIFE. Use a gun in the commission of a crime-10 years mandatory. Fire the gun in the commission of a crime-20 years mandatory. Kill somebody with a gun in the commission of a crime-LIFE mandatory. This sounds great on the surface, but it ties the hands of judges to balance the sentence to fit the crime. I’m not for tying the hands of judges. If a Judge is letting bad people go free because of his/her liberal sensibilities, then get rid of the Judge. We elect Judges to judge. Let them do it, or elect someone who will.

    • Florida Statute 775.087 doesn’t seem to be doing much to deter crime, except it ight send a violent offender to the joint for a long time (which should be a good thing).

      The reason that FL and other states have three strikes, mandatory minimum sentencing and similar laws isn’t because they’ve lost patience with criminals, it’s because they’ve lost patience with judges.

      Most judges can only be removed for illegal activity, not because they are too lenient. Elected judges can be removed by the voters in the next election, but all that means is that the judges are politicians, and politicians sell out every minute of every day.

      And I may be cynical, but as a lawyer I’ve known a lot of judges and trusted a very select few.

      • There is a balancing act to be navigated here.

        Florida’s law was used to crucify Ms. Alexander. Now, then, my sympathy is limited for this woman who fired a warning shot. Bad judgement on her part probably attributable to a bad temper and a limited education on gun law. Her case was viciously prosecuted for political purposes.

        The bad law was rectified to some extent, eventually, by a change to Florida’s law. I doubt that it was a complete resolution; however, the problem was addressed to some degree.

        Every dance with the legislature is a dance with the devil. That makes us reluctant to do anything. Fight; flight; or, freeze. We know that in a gun-fight, freezing is the worst of our available 3 choices.

        I think that any effort on our part to push for enforcement of gun-crime violent and non-violent alike, is apt to meet with formidable opposition. Mom doesn’t want Jr. to go to prison on any count; Mr. Progressive doesn’t want Jr. to go to prison on any non-violent count. So, I don’t think we have to worry excessively about succeeding in pushing for enforcement of existing laws such as felon-in-posession or straw-buying.

        The likely outcome is likely to be to create a fissure widening into a break in support for gun-control laws. Inner-city mothers are just fine with gun-control laws that fall heavily on OFWGs. They don’t want gun-control laws enforced on Jr. or his straw-buying sister. Once these mothers realize that the price for UBC is represented as prison time for Jr. and his sister, they will reconsider their options.

        Gradually, they are apt to lose enthusiasm for gun-control as a means of keeping Jr. out of serious trouble. Gradually, they are apt to start to understand what we PotG, along with Chief Craig and Sheriff Clarke have been trying to tell them.

        Once the Antis loose the support of their inner-city constituents then the death-knoll will sound for gun-control.

      • Cook County voters (Chicago) voted to retain a judge who admitted she was legally insane and assaulted a sherriff’s deputy. (just Google “Cynthia Brim”.)

        Sometimes you need to tie the hands of judges, and voters can’t be trusted to get rid of the crazies. (well, in democrat areas anyway).

        If about 75% of criminals are repeat offenders, wouldn’t locking them up for longer periods of time make streets safer since they won’t be out on the street committing repeat offenses?

        • Yes, but.

          The problem is that our society is probably approaching it’s appetite-limit for enforcing its laws. Imprisoning violent felons has not proven to be an effective deterrent. Imprisoning non-violent misdemeanants and feelings, including drug dealers and felons isn’t much of a deterrent. Competing interests clammer for cell space.

          America has already reached the lofty position of having the highest incarceration rate for any country in the world. There are no more cells available. So, we parole convicted criminals early and give new convicts parole in order to ration space to new serious criminals. We can’t restore the deterrent effect of prisons without building more prisons to reduce parole and probation.

          And, it’s extremely doubtful that we can build more prisons. Not so much because the taxpayers won’t pay for the prisons. Rather, because the Progressive elements among political constituencies won’t tolerate a higher incarceration rate.

          My opinion here might be mistaken; judge for yourself. Just because building more prisons could be the right answer doesn’t make it politically feasible. We might be politically stuck right where we find ourselves today. It’s an ugly proposition; but it might be the pragmatic answer.

          Should we stand-up for our rights using every tactic available to us that is apt to disrupt our opponent’s tactics? Or, keep our powder dry and let the Anti’s determine our fate? Tough choice.

      • Keep in mind almost all offenses have statutory MAXIMUM sentencing guidelines. Thus instead of MANDATORY sentences, it would make sense to simply increase the maximum punishment guideline available to judge for those who chose to use a gun to hurt/control/rob others, thus giving the courts leeway to tailor punishment to the crime

    • And yet when they’re trying to get some Miami or Tampa gangbanger to agree to a plea-bargain, the gun charges are the first ones Florida DAs drop. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

      The ONLY people they ever actually charge under 10-20-LIFE are Ms. Alexander.

  10. This is the fissure into which we must drive a wedge.

    We must demand both:
    – mandatory sentences for violent crimes committed with a gun; and,
    – transparency in plea-bargaining away gun charges.

    Each is as important as the other. Without transparency into the plea-bargaining process mandatory sentencing means absolutely nothing. DAs will be faced with a deluge of armed-robbery prosecutions that they will be compelled to take to a jury trial. Some perpetrators will get off on good luck with a jury selected randomly from their peers. The DAs will have no choice; plea-bargan down the armed robbery charge to “strong-armed” robbery. Then, the mandatory is avoided and they get the plea they need to keep their conviction statistics up. Worthless.

    We need to make the DA’s publish the number of armed-robbery charges they have plead down to strong-armed robbery. Then, and only then, will we be able to show that the criminal justice system doesn’t take non-lethal crime by gun seriously.

    If the criminal justice system gives a pass to armed violence then what are they doing to non-violent crimes involving guns? E.g., straw-buying, trafficking, etc. Nothing. The DAs are waiting for the OFWG who gives his wife a gun for her birthday while skipping the BC. They will crucify him. The single mother will get probation which won’t cut her public assistance check one penny.

    If we are serious about protecting our rights we need to stand behind Democrat politicians with the gall to make such proposals.

    • “We must demand both:
      – mandatory sentences for violent crimes committed with a gun; “

      No. No. No. No. No.

      Do not give the gun agency. Do not give guns more importance than they have. They are not evil. The evil act burned in the human heart regardless of what tool that human used to execute it.

      Convict and punish the violent crime but without view to HOW it was committed.

      • I don’t think my proposal gives the gun agency. It is the perpetrator who chooses his weapon who has the agency.

        I concede that there is something illogical about making distinctions among weapons used in a violent crime. Let’s see:
        – 7 years for using a gun
        – 6 years for using a knife
        – 5 years for using a 9-iron
        – 4 years for using a putter
        – 2 years for strong-arm

        Yup; looks pretty silly. I would prefer to be logical. Yet, what is more important to me is to make political progress. I think it’s really important to win the gun debate.

        Our opponents are focusing on the gun. So, we make a gun proposal. Throw the book at someone who commits a crime using a gun; and, require DAs to publish statistics on the number of gun charges that they plea-bargain away. OK, Mr. & Mrs. Voter, we are on topic. Our bill is all-about guns. Your legislators don’t pass our bill? Well, then they really don’t care about gun crime do they? They just want laws that put people like Shaneen Allen in prison; isn’t that the case.

        It’s perfectly OK to give a thug a get-out-of-jail free card when he sticks you up with a gun; but, let a single mother get caught with her gun and license in the wrong State; she has to go to prison. Is that what your legislator’s “gun control” policies are all about?

        Yes, Mr & Mrs. Voter, our bill will simply incentives the thug who robs you to use a knife. Makes a long narrow hole in your body rather than a small round hole. But the topic is guns; so, we are addressing that topic. No one in the gun control debate cares whether you are killed in a robbery; the idea is to reduce the amount of violence committed with guns. We are here with a proposal that will do that. Our proposal is better than their proposal. We want to put criminals who rob you with a gun in prison and we want to leave single mothers free to defend themselves and their children with licensed carry of guns. Arn’t we trying to be more constructive?

        So, you think that there ought to be long prison sentences for using a knife while committing a crime? OK, so, how about a NICS check when you want to buy a knife? You want that too don’t you? How about a NICS check when you want to buy a 9-iron?

        I do not actually expect to succeed in passing a law as I’ve proposed. I’m trying to engage in a “conversation” with our legislators and the voters.

        A problem I think we PotG have is that we aren’t really engaging with the legislators and the voters about the “gun control” issue. This debate in Milwaukee strikes me as a great opportunity for us to put on the gloves and get into the ring. We appear to be NOT-engaged in the fight at all.

        The only thing we are saying is NO NEW laws; ROLL-BACK old laws. This doesn’t attract the attention of the politicians who want to seem to be responsive to their constituents that cry out “We must DO SOMETHING!!!” We have to give the politicians who might be willing to carry the torch for us something that they can work with. Something that they can say they are getting behind to address the concerns of their constituents who want them to DO SOMETHING!!!

        It’s just fine if it doesn’t get passed because there is push-back from people who don’t want Jr to go to prison. Now, it’s not the EVIL NRA that’s standing as an obstacle to solving the violence problem; rather, it’s the mothers of the criminals.

  11. No mandatory sentences, because a Democrat vote is a terrible thing to waste.

    Actually, I want violent felons to go away for so long that by the time they get out, their haircuts will be back in style. I want nonviolent felons and misdemeanants to serve short jolts if any at all. And I want simple drug possession charges eliminated completely from the criminal code. Completely.

    • Gaak — I couldn’t edit the foregoing. I favor very lengthy sentences for economic criminals like Madoff and others. The harm they do is hideous and long lasting. Let ’em rot.

    • A certain percentage of this voting block meets Planned Parenthood. The next percentage gets killed by their own kind. The very last percentage goes to jail for killing the preceding percentage. Who is left to vote DemoRat in the inner cities?

  12. Bad idea- Judges should always have discretion to impose sentences that fit the crimes. I saw a guy get 10 years added to his sentence just for using a gun when the jury didn’t buy his self-defense claim.

  13. Mandatory sentences just tie the judges hands, let them do what we hire them for, make wise decisions. The prosecutors are the gatekeepers, if they’re not willing to bring charges these criminals will never do serious time. We’re flooded with prison inmates, we just can’t afford to keep all these people in cells for years or decades. I don’t know what the answer is, but with the exception of Sheriff Joe’s tent camps, it just cost too much to incarcerate people. Sending them a monthly paycheck is actually a good idea, it makes you angry at first to think about it, but paying someone not to do criminal things is a LOT cheaper than paying to keep them locked up. The best answer is creating jobs with equitable wages, the possibility of owning a home and retiring someday with a livable income, and passing something on to your children. You know, all those things government, the mega-rich and mega-corporations have taken away from us? It won’t fix all the breakdowns in society, but would be a grand start.

    • There are enough things needing done in our cities and towns that jobs programs just to keep people from committing crime would benefit everyone. Well, maybe not the bureaucrats who earn 40% or more over the median income for running the business of manufacturing criminals, but they could be made to get honest jobs, and that would benefit the rest of us.

      • Unfortunately that won’t work, easily. Similar things have happened multiple times in the past. Volunteers have been forbidden to work in parks, etc. because they are taking government union jobs. In fact, this even happened on a national level not too long ago when the federal government shut down.

    • If we can’t afford to keep dangerous criminals locked up, then shoot them. Bullets are cheap, and don’t end up encouraging others to take up a criminal lifestyle simply in order to get “sentenced” to a free check every month from the taxpayer. What a stupid idea. If you tax/punish something, you get less of it. If you reward/subsidize something, you’ll get more of it. Think before you suggest such nonsense.

  14. Yeah, we know why she opposes harsh sentences for violent crime. It’s racist and disproportionately affects people of color.

    Go away.

  15. Over 25 years ago at the NRSRPA in NYC we begged the pols to make the gun a LIABILITY and not an asset to thugs by tacking on non-negotioble time with no parole for CARRYING a gun in the course of a crime and more for firing it and still more for any injuries. They laughed at us and went back to writing laws to disarm US.

  16. Mandatory minimums don’t always work tho.
    We’ve got such a law in the Virgin Islands, and generally strict gun laws to go with it. Unfortunately the prosecution will often cut deals or he judge will downplay charges to avoid having their own hands tied in sentencing.
    So the crooks come off with a ridiculously short sentence and no gun charges. It doesn’t work unless the system backs it.

    • There’s a simple way to avoid that: require that if the gun aspect isn’t prosecuted, it’s an automatic win for the defense.

      My brain is tired at the moment or I’d try to work out a way to make the idea effective without tying the hands of judges.

  17. I’m not okay with mandatory minimum sentences. I’m just not. The judge has the discretion to put these people into jail for 5 to 20 years for those crime already, let the judge judge the situation and let the parole board decide the fitness on the back end for re-entry.

    I do think people that commit crimes with guns should be locked up for several years, let the judge dole it out, but don’t force it because you can get some really ridiculous situations when judges can’t judge. A legal gun owner caught in a compromising situation with no intent to use a gun in a crime could get rolled into these minimum sentences and it just doesn’t do anything at all good for society that a judge couldn’t reduce an enhanced sentence.

  18. Virginia did this years ago, late ’90’s IIRC. Project Exile it was called. Mandatory minimum of 5 years for any crime involving a firearm. Stats posted at the time stated a 40% decrease in firearms related crimes within the first year. I remember seeing a sign posted at the state border explaining “Project Exile”. I do not know the current status of the program or any other long term information.

  19. “Wait wait wait, punish criminals with guns instead of punishing law-abiding citizens with guns? But but… all my anti-gun paperwork I’ve put together in the last 3 years doesn’t affect criminals in any way!

    I don’t wanna rewrite it….”

    — Idiot Mayor (paraphrased for effect)

    That’s pretty much what she’s saying. So when push comes to shove, and presented with the correct effective course of action that punishes the cause cause of gun violence (bad guys), this anti is too lazy to do the right thing.

    This is my surprised face. -_-


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