School Closings and Delays

I-Team: Measure Proposed to Reduce Gun Violence in Ohio

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AKRON, Ohio -- It's a startling statistic that Ohio's Attorney General says reveals the true nature of the gun violence problem: less than one percent of criminals commit about 57 percent of violent crimes.

That's the conclusion of a long-term study ordered by Attorney General Mike DeWine.

He says those numbers mean just a few people are responsible for a large share of the violence.

"In a city the size of Akron, if we could take 50 people off the streets," DeWine said, "we could cut the violent crime in half."

He adds that taking about 100 people off the streets would "dramatically" reduce the violence in Cleveland.

DeWine supports a measure now being discussed in the Ohio Legislature to adopt a so-called "felon in possession" law.

Modeled on a similar federal statute, the law would mandate an 11-year prison term for anyone convicted of a third violent offense in a 15-year period.

But it also requires a two-year sentence for felons who are found merely having a gun -- they don't have to be using it in a crime.

Asked if the law may be too stiff and contribute to prison overcrowding, DeWine said "there always has to be room in our prisons for someone who may kill you."

State Sen. Frank LaRose said the proposal is "narrowly tailored" so that it only captures violent felons who need to be in prison.

"Prisons are for people we are truly afraid of," LaRose said.

Akron Police Chief Jim Nice says felons who are found with guns simply "need to go jail."

The legislature may take up the proposal later this year.

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