Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has a novel proposal on how to reduce crime across the Sunflower State.
Put felons caught with guns behind bars.
See, under current state law, many violent felons are given probation when they commit new felonies with firearms, which is tantamount to a slap on the wrist, and worse, it puts them back out on the streets so they can re-offend.
“Kansas law already provides that certain convicted felons may not possess weapons,” Schmidt explained to WIBW. “But the truth is, many violent crimes in our communities are committed by armed repeat felons who flaunt that law because they know the most likely consequence of conviction is probation rather than incarceration.
“Today we are proposing to give this existing statute a real bite by requiring that felons who repeatedly and illegally carry firearms while committing new violent crimes to be sent to prison, not granted probation,” he continued. “This proposal focuses on taking off our streets those criminals who repeatedly misuse firearms to commit violent crime in our communities.”
The proposal Schmidt referenced is the Reduce Armed Violence Act, which lawmakers introduced on Monday. It would ensure that any felon caught possessing a firearm (a felony crime on its own per federal law) while committing another felony would serve time from 7 to 23 months, depending on the individual’s criminal history.
“The overwhelming majority of gun crime in our community is perpetrated by felons who are also legally prohibited from possessing the very firearms they use,” said Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay, a supporter of the legislation.
“Although many of them are arrested and prosecuted for possessing these weapons, current Kansas law typically mandates that these offenders receive probation. This is not an effective deterrent for the offenders, and they simply repeat their behavior,” he added. “This legislation will provide prosecutors the only tool we can use to ensure these offenders are prevented from engaging in violence on our streets.”
On some level, it’s crazy to think that a state like Kansas wasn’t already enforcing such a standard. Makes one wonder how many other states have similar protocals on the books that treat armed felons with kid gloves.
We’ll keep an eye on the Reduce Armed Violence Act. Stay tuned for updates.