Williams: Strict Gun Law Enforcement Could Reduce Overall Crime and Incarceration Levels


Philadelphia Police investigators work the scene of a fatal overnight shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

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The far left which reflexively opposes any law enforcement focused efforts will argue against “mass incarceration” or as [Philadelphia District Attorney] Larry Krasner says: “replacing the war on drugs with a war on guns.” and “prosecuting illegal gun possession criminalizes poverty.” No doubt poverty and hopelessness contribute to crime and violence, but even Larry can separate the “I am poor and hopeless” group from the “I can do whatever the F*#k I want” group. I have to believe the individuals throwing bullets down a residential block in Frankford and killing an innocent woman on her front porch, fall into the latter category.

But regardless of whether those shooters are poor and desperate or depraved and malevolent the consequences for their actions will be the same; they will spend the rest of their natural lives in prison for murder. Isn’t two years in prison for gun possession better than life in prison for a murder? Wouldn’t putting more people in jail for a few years for gun possession result in less people going to jail for life for murder? 

Krasner brags about the 28,000 fewer years of incarceration imposed in Philadelphia since he became District Attorney. But under his regime, Philadelphia still has the highest number of citizens in the state who are eligible for long prison sentences or life in prison because we have the highest number of citizens carrying and using illegal guns. Since Krasner took office there have been over 2000 murders (2,092 as of August 2nd ). Each of those murders has the potential to result in a life sentence. 

Likewise, shootings have increased dramatically under Krasner creating another category for a large number of long prison sentences. So looked at more broadly, consistent harsh punishment for gun possession may actually reduce incarceration levels. In New York City when they cracked down on gun possession, they actually saw their prison population at Rikers Island decline because there was less serious crime occurring.

— R. Seth Williams in R. Seth Williams: Three Steps To Make Illegal Guns Like Kryptonite

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