District attorney makes proposal on criminals with illegal guns

Published: Jan. 18, 2020 at 1:15 AM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A Southwest Georgia district attorney is taking aim at gun laws.

Greg Edwards, the district attorney for the Dougherty Judicial Circuit, hopes to enhance punishment for convicted felons with illegal guns.

“Buy more guns, exchange for sex, exchange for drugs and money. That’s why people are breaking into your cars,” said Edwards.

Edwards said that sometimes a criminal’s first priority is to get their hands on a gun.

“If they’ve been convicted of a crime and they get back out, they have no incentives right now to not pick a gun back up,” Edwards explained.

In and out of courtrooms, he said he sees the turnaround often in his district.

Dougherty County works with the federal authorities on the matter.

“Georgia does not have that equivalent. I think that is an important tool for Georgia prosecutors and law enforcement to have,” said Edwards.

Which is why he wants to make a proposal to lawmakers during this legislative session.

“Guns are what keep the teeth in the gangs and we need to take the teeth away from those gang members,” Edwards said.

Right now, to be a convicted felon with a gun is a felony. It’s also a felony to have a gun with a serial number removed, or a sawed-off shotgun.

“But the punishment for those offenses are not mandatory and they are also normally consecutive to any independent crime,” explained Edwards.

Edwards said that enhancing the punishment will put a stop to illegal guns.

“The issue is deterrents. Let’s keep the guns away from those folks, maybe with the notion that they are going to get some potential serious time,” Edwards said.

Edwards told WALB News 10 that the proposal will not affect or hinder the rights of law-abiding citizens to have guns within their legal rights. He also said a person who has been convicted can reacquire the ability to have a gun.

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