JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mayor Lumumba says a major goal for the Jackson Police Department is to get illegal guns out of the hands of juveniles and criminals.
While his ban on the Open Carry Law drew criticism and threats, the Mayor tells us that illegal guns remain a huge problem and barrier to stopping violent crime.
The Real Time Command Center gives law enforcement another set of eyes in dealing with violent crime in Jackson, but Lumumba says illegal guns in the hands of children and convicted felons creates a recipe for conflict and violence.
Lumumba said, “We think that it is important that we get illegal guns off of the streets, and we think that it’s important that law enforcement be armed with the ability to distinguish lawful possession of a firearm from illegal possession of a firearm.”
Mayor Lumumba says with the extra stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic and every day challenges, across the nation and the state, you see people react.
“When people are dealing with eviction, when people are dealing with hunger, when children are not in organized settings, when all of these things are taking place, when there’s high instances of mental anguish, when there’s high instances of conflict in the home, all of that leads to cycles of violence,” Lumumba said.
The Mayor also discussed the Open Carry Law and the problems it creates for officers.
“I have residents who call and say, ‘You know we just heard gunshots.’ ‘There’s a person who’s holding a gun at the end of the street.’ ‘You know, why hasn’t JPD arrested them?’ ‘Why doesn’t JPD, you know, confront them?’ and the reason being is because the Open Carry Law gives them, you know, protection, cover from the law,” said Lumumba.
Late last month, JPD announced Operation Unity, a partnership with federal law enforcement. Another tool to get criminals with guns off the streets. Operation Unity was launched November 7.
Mayor Lumumba said, “Operation Unity honestly is not a foreign concept. There’s, you know, this whole notion of JPD working with the feds, there are a number of initiatives that JPD is constantly working with the federal government on.”
Mayor Lumumba says one way federal officials can help is by allocating more resources to deal with poverty, education and mental health.