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Pthfndr
02-06-2007, 8:00 PM
http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/119081.html (requires reg)

Cops hope public, Web help snare illegal guns
By Christina Jewett - Bee Staff Writer

Last Updated 12:33 am PST Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

Print | E-Mail | Comments (3)

Sacramento law enforcement leaders said Tuesday that they are turning to YouTube, MySpace and text messaging -- communication highways for teens -- to promote a new program offering $1,000 rewards for information about illegal guns.

The rewards will go to anonymous callers who provide police with information about an illegal gun or unlawful gun owner -- if the information leads to an arrest.

In California, felons are not allowed to own guns, and only people with permits can carry loaded firearms.

"This is one of the things we're doing to try to reduce the level of violence we see on the streets," Sacramento Police Chief Albert Nájera said at a news conference with Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness and agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Nájera said his teenage daughter inspired him to turn to text messaging to elicit tips from the public.

He said a rider on light rail or a bus may not call police if they notice a person carrying a gun -- but they may send a text message to dispatchers.

"We're hoping we can go to a little different audience with this," he said.

Police Capt. Daniel Hahn, who supervises investigations, said school resource officers will hold contests in high schools for students to create posters and video -- to be posted on the video-sharing Web site youtube.com -- promoting the reward program and its tip line: (800) ATF-GUNS.

Although a text messaging number has not been established -- or a myspace.com page -- officials say they plan to disseminate information about them.

Gun violence has led to bloodshed and widespread debate in Sacramento, as homicides and robberies soared in the city and county during the first half of 2006.

After slayings mounted early in the summer, police, ATF agents and sheriff's deputies conducted a two-day gang sweep that turned up 25 illegal guns.

Officials have no estimates of how many illegal guns are in Sacramento. But McGinness said they tend to turn a flash of anger into a tragedy.

"The existence of those weapons with the wrong people contribute to the ease with which life is taken on the street," he said. "So we want to make a change."

Law enforcement expects a variety of motives from tipsters, including ex-girlfriends' spite and drug users' greed.

"We'll take the information any way we can get it," McGinness said.

The potential for abuse -- citizens planting guns on others -- does not strike gun-violence researcher Dr. Garen Wintemute as a problem. Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis Medical Center, said police likely will investigate far enough to rule out fraudulent tips.

Although he has not seen a formal evaluation of similar programs, he said it is wise for police to tap the knowledge of residents.

"The main idea here is to use people who live in the community to help see and react to things that law enforcement just can't see," he said.

Sacramento police may get additional tools to contain illegal guns, said Vice Mayor Kevin McCarty, who consulted with Nájera on proposed city gun ordinances.

McCarty said one would require people to provide fingerprints to buy ammunition.

Another proposed restriction will crack down on "straw buyers," people who buy batches of guns and turn them over to felons and others who cannot legally buy guns.

McCarty said unscrupulous gun buyers -- when approached by police -- claim guns they bought were stolen.

McCarty said the ordinance he proposes would target those gun traffickers by creating a new misdemeanor crime: not reporting a lost or stolen gun within 48 hours.

Both ordinances are on the books in other California cities, McCarty said, and will come before the City Council in coming months.

"They may not be a panacea and solve all our gun crimes, but maybe make a small dent," McCarty said.

About the writer:

* The Bee's Christina Jewett can be reached at (916) 321-1201 or cjewett@sacbee.com.

Dont Tread on Me
02-06-2007, 8:13 PM
Does an anonymous phone call give the cops PC to search? Interesting. Who do I not like enough to get a six am visit from a SWAT team? I'm sure SWAT will be required if there could be an assault weapon in the house...

>Both ordinances are on the books in other California cities

This is why we have to write to the Governments of cities that we don't live in. There is this stupid "it must be ok if others have done it" justification.

wilit
02-06-2007, 8:17 PM
Does an anonymous phone call give the cops PC to search? Interesting. Who do I not like enough to get a six am visit from a SWAT team? I'm sure SWAT will be required if there could be an assault weapon in the house...

>Both ordinances are on the books in other California cities

This is why we have to write to the Governments of cities that we don't live in. There is this stupid "it must be ok if others have done it" justification.

When I lived in the central valley (name of town witheld), a friend of mine got in a fight with his mom and he said he wanted to kill himself. He stormed off into his room and took a nap. His mom freaked out (obviously) called the cops and the entire SWAT team came to pull him out of the room because she said "yes" to the "does he own a firearm" question.

At the time it wasn't really funny, but in retrospect, it was pretty funny to see two cops jump through his bedroom window while he was asleep.

AJAX22
02-07-2007, 8:46 AM
25 illegal guns in 2 days?

with all branches of Law enforcement participating?

what did that cost the taxpayers? 100K?

if all they want is 25 illegal guns off the streets they could have just made a few phone calls and spent 10K buying them.

VeryCoolCat
02-07-2007, 4:00 PM
Ima go buy some cheapo illegal firearms off the streets. Give em to people I don't like and rat them out :D

Dont Tread on Me
02-07-2007, 4:05 PM
Ima go buy some cheapo illegal firearms off the streets. Give em to people I don't like and rat them out :D

Just don't buy them from me. I'm looking for the $1000 for you and the $1000 for the guy you sell them to:)