Washington DC, September 21, 2023 – The National Sheriffs’ Association today called upon the President to reevaluate his so called “gun crime” prevention agenda, emphasizing that the administration must commit to the investigation and prosecution of crimes involving firearms and take decisive measures to curb the influx of illegal narcotics across our borders.
“Today, we again heard the President speak to the symptoms and not the root cause of violence in America. The President has unfortunately limited his solutions to only eradicating assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We can no longer sit idly-by as our government and many rogue liberal prosecutors regularly neglect to prosecute dangerous violent criminal acts,” proclaimed Sheriff Greg Champagne, president of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “Experts agree that attacking the instrumentality and not the root cause of crime is a failed strategy that caters to political priorities, and not the reality of challenges we face every day on our streets.”
“We have repeatedly attempted to communicate our views to the administration without success. We have recommended they undertake a more holistic approach to preventing violent crime. These efforts should start with some basic principles which I’ve heard repeatedly from Sheriffs across our country.”
- Combatting Illegal Drug Importation and the Open Border: Reversing the massive illegal importation of narcotics and synthetic drugs is essential. Drugs remain a root cause of violence in communities. We urge the administration to revisit its current unsustainable open border policy and increase security along all of our borders.
- Gun Crime Prosecution: Prosecuting every gun crime to its fullest extent must be a starting point. Convicted felons in possession of firearms must be vigorously prosecuted. Armed criminals committing murder with guns will not simply put down their weapons because the law bans the weapon. Violent criminals will always find a way to obtain a gun.
- Changing the Mindset of Violators: Too many young people have now normalized a culture where even the slightest insult or dispute can be responded to with lethal violence and murder. Social media comments have been the catalyst for a violent reprisal. This dangerous mindset must be reversed with a focus on communities, ministers, and families.
- Mental Health Crisis: The lack of mental health treatment and facilities are beyond the crisis level. This national disgrace has been laid at the feet of law enforcement and this is just a blatantly incorrect avenue to solve this massive problem. Both the state and federal governments must act and prioritize rebuilding a national network of mental health facilities. All Governors, with assistance from the US Department of Health and Human Services, must acknowledge that there is a dire need for a significant increase in mental health beds and facilities.
- Reevaluating the Failed Experiment of No Bail: Bail “reform” has been a dismal failure. Every jurisdiction in which it has been tried has seen record increases in crime. Bail must be high for anyone caught illegally carrying, using or selling a firearm. Dangerousness of the accused as well as his/her prior criminal record is a constitutional factor to be considered by a judge in setting bail. This can include the accused’s connection to organized crime, gangs, cartels and transnational crime organizations.
“There are those that argue that taking a strong stance on violent offenders who commit crimes with firearms is immoral or somehow unfair. What about the countless increased number of murder victims who get no opportunity for due process, where is the fairness or morality in that?” said Sheriff Champagne.
Attacking the inanimate object and ignoring the obvious fact that we have a “human” violence problem will not bring a solution, it will only penalize law abiding gun owners and make our communities less safe. The National Sheriffs’ Association calls upon the leaders of this new office to meet with and receive valid input from Sheriffs to learn what is really happening on the streets of America. We remain committed to working with the administration. We hope they will provide us the opportunity to be heard and actually consider a holistic solution to this nationwide problem.