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Horowitz: How about ‘red flagging’ those who have ALREADY committed gun crimes?

Op-ed
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Here's a simple proposition a sane and dedicated Republican Party would promote among all its candidates next year: locking up every convicted violent gun felon in America. Doing so would end not only nearly all gun crimes, but most other violent crimes as well. Yet, in the world we live in today, leftists are promoting "red flag" laws to take away guns from people without criminal records and without due process while refusing to incarcerate repeat violent felons who either illegally possess guns or commit violence with guns, thus ignoring the ultimate red flags.

Fourteen-year-old Jupiter Paulsen was skateboarding to her mother's home last Friday in what most would consider a safe part of Fargo, North Dakota, when she was suddenly and randomly attacked for 25 minutes. She was allegedly stabbed to death 25 times by 23-year-old Arthur Prince Kollie. The suspect claims to have been high on meth during the attack.

To state the obvious, this wasn't Kollie's first brush with violent crime. According to court records, Kollie was on probation for a 2017 conviction for assault on a peace officer. Yet he violated his probation in one of the worst ways imaginable. He was arrested last December 18 for illegally possessing a firearm as a felon, discharging the firearm within city limits, and possession of drugs.

Now, in a sane world of gun control – where politicians seem so concerned about target pistol braces of those engaged in sports and target practice – they would treat felony possession and discharge of a firearm during probation as a cardinal sin leading to 10-20 years in prison, right? In fact, just a month before the grisly June 4 attack on the girl, Kollie was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation and just 27 days in jail, which he had already served.

In other words, had we constructed a criminal justice system focused on locking up violent gun felons, Kollie would have been behind bars and Jupiter Paulsen would still have most of her life ahead of her. But now that we focus on the gun while letting out the gun felon, Kollie was able to end her life at 14 years with a knife! The Kollie case plays out in every major city every single day – where gun felons are released to please the idols of the de-incarceration agenda, and they then proceed to murder using any other weapon or their bare hands. It's the ultimate proof that criminals, especially gun felons, kill, not guns.

Every day, I see numerous stories of high-profile murders and heinous crimes, and almost every one of them is committed by a known felon who was not fully punished for gun crimes. Whether it's refusing to sentence gun felons to their maximum prison time, refusing to re-incarcerate those who violate their parole with felony possession, or releasing those who commit crimes with guns on no or low bail, the very leftists who push gun control on law-abiding citizens are the ones releasing the ultimate red flags back on the streets.

These are just the stories I've seen over the past two days:

  • Bronx gang member Alberto Ramirez was arrested on his third gun felony earlier this year after he had a history of being involved in shootings. Even on the third charge, he was only initially held on $75,000 bail. Then, on March 2, acting Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle lowered the amount to $10,000 cash or $25,000 bond. Fast-forward to this past Monday, and Ramirez is accused of randomly shooting into a crowd during a turf war (in what is called "spinning the block") and killing Eric Velasquez, a father of two.
  • Everyone in Minnesota has heard of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, but nobody has heard of 28-year-old Todd Lorne Banks Jr. who was found dead in Rochester, allegedly shot by two gun felons, Derrick Timothy Days and Nautica Delshaun Cox. Days was released from prison in December 2020 after serving a federal prison sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm and was placed on worthless supervised release for another three years. Cox, who had a history of armed robbery and assault, was convicted of felony possession of a gun last September, but was placed on probation.
  • Another Minnesota homicide victim who will never obtain George Floyd-level acclaim is 14-year-old Demaris Hobbs-Ekdahl. He was gunned down at a graduation party in suburban Maplewood, and police believe his stepfather, Keith Dawson, started the drive-by shooting that led to his death. It turns out that Dawson had 36 prior convictions, including, you guessed it, a drive-by shooting and several felony possessions.
  • And speaking of Daunte Wright, the political elites are crying over his accidental killing by cops at a traffic stop, but let's not forget that he was a gun felon who should have been locked up. Not only was he previously arrested for choking and robbing a woman at gun point, but this week a second family filed a civil lawsuit against his estate for carjacking. Another lawsuit alleges that Wright shot a teenager in 2019, leaving him permanently disabled.
  • Tony Hampton, a career Chicago criminal, was arrested on May 1 for felony possession, but was released without any bail despite his record. Just three days later he was arrested for robbing a phone store. He posted just $10,000 bond and was released, only to rob another phone store three weeks later! This is the story of Chicago.
  • Last weekend, 6-year-old Coby Daniel went to retrieve his bike, which was parked in front of his neighbor's home in Washtenaw County, Michigan. That neighbor, Ryan Le-Nguyen, allegedly charged at the boy with a sledgehammer, and when he couldn't catch him, shot the boy in the arm, missing his heart by about an inch. That sounds like a pretty bad gun crime, right? Well, a judge released him on just $10,000 cash bond, where he can now go back and threaten the boy who will testify against him.
  • Isaiah G. "Zeek" Gardenhire has racked up a 20-year criminal history in central Michigan, which includes multiple assaults, home invasion, and felony possession of firearms. After being released from prison for his last sentence in October 2020, he was arrested again last month for criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13. How much do you think bail should be set for such a criminal? $1 million? $2 million? Well, he was released on May 27 after posting just $7,500 cash bond. Just one week later, Gardenhire allegedly went on a 40-hour crime spree in Mt. Pleasant that includes killing 13-year-old girl Adre Dembowske, taking hostages, carjacking, robbing people, and sexually assaulting two women, one of whom was a stranger to him. Nobody can say we didn't see this one coming. Adre Dembowske is just another name that will never be known to the public whose memory will fall into the ash heap of "criminal justice reform."

I can go on and on, because these stories are essentially what is driving all sorts of violence, including gun violence, in every major city every day. Philadelphia police are averaging over nine gun arrests per day! But almost all of them result in parole, not meaningful jail time, especially if the perpetrator is a juvenile.

You might be wondering by now – isn't possession of firearms considered a felony under federal law? Why then is the Department of Justice not aggressively prosecuting gun felons in cities like Chicago, instead leaving them to local prosecutors and judges to release on parole? The answer is that the feds have no interest in pursuing people who actually harm others with guns because they don't want to add to the prison population. The federal prison population is down 30% over the past eight years, even as the general population grows, and the Biden administration wants to keep it that way.

Imagine if the DOJ worked with every city prosecutor to take the gun felons off the streets through federal prosecutions. They'd prevent most violent crime, not just gun crime. Chicago's justice system has released 534 people charged as felons in possession of a weapon and 569 individuals who have been accused of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon all on ankle monitors. Where are the federal prosecutors taking them off the streets? If they are really concerned about red flags with guns, they'd go after the people who are so obviously red, their hands are dripping with blood in plain sight.
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