I agree with Judge Bob Moon that there is a tremendous gang problem in Chattanooga. Judge Moon has made a public statement about this and I applaud him for that. I believe judges need to be proactive in trying to correct problems they see that occur in the courts.
I personally believe the issue of gangs is not just a Chattanooga problem or a Tennessee problem but is a national problem.
I do not agree with the premise that our community leaders are just grandstanding. Local groups and political leaders are joining together to try to solve the problem. Not much has been accomplished because everyone is just baffled as to what to do. They are, however, trying to obtain a solution to the problem before it ever gets to the enforcement level with the police or the courts.
Here are a few personal thoughts and possible solutions that I propose:
1. The gang force and power is through the illegal weapons they obtain and possess. Most of these gang members are not that physically astute. They are not athletic or courageous. They only become courageous when they obtain a gun. This is their badge of courage since they don’t excel otherwise. We need to stop their supply of weapons. We need to cut the snake’s head off before it strikes. We need stronger laws on illegally possessing an illegal weapon. Presently the law in Tennessee is too weak. Gangs get their guns from illegal dealers. These dealers also must be stopped. I propose anyone without a gun permit who is caught with an illegal weapon and is a member of a gang, upon conviction get one (1) year in jail mandatory without parole. Anyone caught selling an unregistered weapon to a gang member, after conviction get one (1) year mandatory in jail without parole. This should stop the flow of guns to these gang members.
2. Young people emulate their idols. This has always been true with movie stars, sports heroes, and singers. The gang members seem to idolize the gangster rappers and some violent hip hoppers. They make hand signs like the rappers and they dress as they do. They listen to their music and their words of violence. They play video games and internet activities that involve violence. They see these rappers with guns shooting one another in the news and they think this is cool. All of these gets in their heads and they lose their perception of what is right and wrong.
There needs to be stronger enforcement and registration under the gang offender’s act. Also all middle and high schools need to have a part in their wellness class about humanitarianism with an emphasis against gangs.
3. I also agree with what has previously been said that there is an economic problem which leads some to dealing drugs and to crime. Judge Moon is right in that stronger jail time is needed for drug offenders
America must decide how to let decent and law abiding citizens exercise their right to bear arms and their right of freedom of speech and expressions yet limit the rights of mean, violent, non-caring people.
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I have some comments to part one of Judge Bean's suggestions. We have no need for new gun laws. It is already illegal for a convicted felon to posess a gun.
If you catch a gang member who happens to be a convicted felon, try giving a minimum of a five-year (or more) sentence. A one-year minimum is not going to deter much.
If they commit a crime with a weapon (gun or knife), give them a stiff mandatory sentence.
Also, there is not really an "unregistered" weapon since firearms are not required to be regitered. Also, it is a concealed weapon permit and not a gun permit.