Mpls police chief: Gun dealers, lawmakers, courts need to do more to reduce gun crimeby Tom Crann, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan said Tuesday that gun dealers, lawmakers, and the criminal justice system need to do more to reduce gun crimes.
Dolan made the remarks during an interview with MPR's Tom Crann. An edited transcript of the interview is below.
Tom Crann: In Minneapolis last year, Minneapolis Police Department took some 700 guns off the street. Is that enough? Put that in context for us.
Chief Tim Dolan: Well, actually when you look back in '06, we took 1,500 guns off the street. So that number's down, which is a question we keep asking ourselves, 'Are we seeing fewer guns, fewer gun incidents?'
But we had a large buy-back in '06, but it's still a lot of guns. And if you look at the total number of guns for last year, about 60 percent of those guns were just taken from the north side. So we still see more guns in an area where we'd like to see fewer guns.
Crann: Do you think that legal gun sales need to be curbed in any way to reduce gun crimes?
Dolan: I'd like to see legal gun sales, everybody that sells a gun be required to do a check on and making sure they're selling a gun to a person that can legally have one. And they can do that, do those checks through any police department. I think that would be fair.
I'd also like to see, and this is going to get me in a lot of trouble out there with people that don't support this, but I don't believe in anonymous guns. I don't believe that there's a need for anonymous guns. I think guns should be licensed and they should be registered. And that's just fair. ... We don't have anonymous cars out there. We don't have anonymous drivers.
Guns have caused a lot of violence in the country. It's what makes something that would be a smoldering issue an explosive issue, and I just don't see the rationale for it.
Crann: Would you like to see restrictions on certain types of guns, ones that are often classified as assault weapons, semi-automatic weapons, that sort of thing?
Dolan: Well, I would ... I don't think hunters need large capacity magazines. They don't need bullets that'll penetrate bullet-proof vests. I mean things like that I think those are just reasonable things.
I think the biggest fear in people that are gun advocates or NRA might have is that they don't want to give up anything because they think if they start going down that road that they'll lose other things. So in essence what's happened is that there's no reasonableness.
And police chiefs, especially urban police chiefs in large cities will tell you this. We're just looking for reasonableness. We're looking for things like required registration and weapons that are not designed to kill police, kill people, and have no value as a hunting weapon or even a target weapon.
Crann: What about sentences for crimes committed with a gun? You and I have talked before and you said that there should be more attention there and the sentences should perhaps be stricter.
Dolan: Well, if we have a mandatory sentence for a crime, they have enhancements for guns. When you commit a robbery with a gun, and there's a mandatory sentence of, say, three years with that offense, that should be enforced.
I mean one of the things that you do see through criminal justice is that sure penalties do have consequences as far as--. And they show results as far as being a deterrent. If we see those things constantly being waived or we have sentences that deviate from those penalties, then they don't carry much water and there's no fear with them.
So a lot of people would say there's good laws on the books. They just need to be enforced, and then (we need to not have) sentences which deviate from those enhancements for using a gun in a crime.
(Interview edited and transcribed by MPR reporter Madeleine Baran)
- All Things Considered, 03/22/2011, 4:52 p.m.