I think one of the first things to do is to for judicial system to actually put violent offenders in jail, a sentence with some teeth, not something where they rob a person or a store and only get 6 months for it. There are maximum sentences for crimes committed, why can't we start utilizing that more? Perhaps even raise the amount of money it takes to get out on bail. I say this because in my town we have had 2 situations where:
1. A man was charged with shooting someone, was out on bail while waiting for his next court date and while out managed to get into another incident where he was accused of shooting someone. The guy was eventually convicted for both crimes. 2. An individual had a record that was pretty extensive but had hardly served any time for violent crimes he had been convicted of. He had not been out of prison more than 2 months and got involved in an incident where he shot and killed someone. He was convicted and is currently in prison.
I know there are sentencing limits to crimes, but why on earth would a judge seem to give the minimum amount of time to a violent criminal? I know you can't ask for millions of dollairs for bail, but the individual that was out on bail was out on $10,000. Get a bailbond and it only cost $1000 to get free.
About 2 years back there was a guy that was a convicted felon that was 1. caught with firearms, 2. some of the firearms were converted to machine guns. 9 years is all he was sentenced to.
The guy was no saint, already had a decently long record....and this is the best the court system is going to do? The sad part is I know stories like this are not unique to my town, this kind of thing is happening all across our country.
Would tougher sentences on these crimes have prevented Newtown, most likely not. Would tougher sentences stop other gun related crimes locally...I think it would. Now if tougher sentences across the country were the norm and more criminals were off the streets I think we would see a drastic reduction in gun crimes and deaths. Look, we tried an "assault" weapons ban for 10 years and it did not give us the results they promised it would.
I know the prisons are overcrowded and police forces in some areas are greatly underpowered and undermanned. With a small percentage of the foreign aid we are giving other countries we could give our police forces the resources they need to get the job done effectively. We could build prisons to house the violent criminals so the court systems could effectively sentence them as needed without having to take into consideration whether or not there is room to house them.