Let’s examine the findings of this 2010 study from the State of Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management, Criminal Justice Policy & Planning Division:
Offenders with a history of weapons charges had higher recidivism rates than offenders who have not been sentenced for similar charges.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of male offenders, who had ever served a prison sentence for weapons, were rearrested withinthree years of their release or discharge from prison.
87% of offenders who had a sentence history involving weapons also had been incarcerated for other serious crimes includingviolent felonies, drug or property crimes.
So when the Wilmington City Council proposed a gun offender registry that would have required any gun offender living in Wilmington to check in with the police department every six months for three years, it should have been a no-brainer, right? After all, the recidivism rate truly is “frightening and high” and approximately 1.4 million people have been killed using firearms in the U.S. between 1968 and 2011(Guns in the US: The statistics behind the violence“. BBC News. 5 January 2016).
So why then did the City Council vote against it when there’s a sex offender registry and sex offenders have an extremely LOW rate of recidivism and many on the registry are on for non-contact, non-violent offenses?
Let’s examine some of the reasons cited by the City Council Members:
- “This is nothing but double jeopardy,” said Councilman Nnamdi Chukwoucha. “We’re just placing them in another form of probation or being under city supervision. I think it’s uncalled for.”
- Councilman Sam Guy “didn’t want to punish those trying to reform their lives” and “It adds some more difficulties for people who are already under the supervision of the criminal justice system or have completed all of their requirements,”
- “many on council thought the registry would have placed additional barriers against those who already served their time.”