The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has in effect an initiative known as “Operation Safe Streets.” Due to Jacksonville’s soaring murder rate, this initiative focuses on gun crimes. The idea behind Operation Safe Streets is that a criminal defendant charged with a gun crime will serve time in jail. The goal of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is to get guns off the street, stop people from carrying guns illegally, and send a message to the community to deter gun crimes.
While there is a need for gun crime deterrence in Jacksonville, a bright-line rule that a “Gun Crime = Hard Time” is not the answer. As with everything in life, there are exceptions to the rule. In some cases, jail time for someone charged with a gun crime may not be the solution. For example, imagine a man that recently began carrying a concealed firearm in his vehicle for protection. He has no criminal record and is in the process of obtaining his permit, but does not have it yet. Technically, he may be charged with a felony and sent to jail or prison, but is this fair? Each case should be evaluated on a case by case basis. A rule that everyone charged with a gun crime should go to jail, period, does not make sense.