‘Gun violence is not politics:’ Law enforcement leaders weigh in on if new gun control legislation could make difference on local level

A massive caravan of law enforcement agencies joined a community walk put on by the non-profit organization TRUCE Monday night.
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 10:07 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - President Joe Biden celebrated the passage of the recent bi-partisan gun control legislation on Monday.

The bill enhances background checks for gun buyers under 21, provides billions of dollars for mental health services, and millions of dollars to states for crisis intervention programs.

But what does the new law actually mean for your neighborhood, and do the cops on the streets think it can really make a difference?

We spoke with East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and State Police Colonel Lamar Davis, who don’t believe that will solve all the issues.

A massive caravan of law enforcement agencies joined a community walk Monday night, put on by the non-profit organization ‘TRUCE.’

“Our main goal of TRUCE is to interrupt violence and make sure our young people that are involved in violence, know there’s a way out, and we’re here to help,” said Aishala Burgess, Executive Director of TRUCE.

Dozens of officers with BRPD, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police and more, spoke with neighbors in the Gus Young area.

“There was an unsolved homicide in this area, which is why we picked this area to walk. And just to encourage the residents know, if you saw something, if you know something, to not be afraid to let law enforcement know,” said Burgess.

The comes as the coroner’s office reports 76 homicides so far this year in East Baton Rouge Parish.

“I guarantee you, the majority of these people are good honest people, they just want to live in peace, raise a family, and that’s it. But it’s that 7,8 10%, that they not of that mindset, and they’re going to try to disrupt the good people that live here as much as they can, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process,” said EBR Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

The walk took place hours as President Biden celebrated the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years.

“Lives will be saved today and tomorrow because of this,” said Mr. Biden.

But when you really think about it, will this legislation really help out here at the local level?

“Well you know, gun violence is not politics, it’s a matter of life. And really what’s important for us, is getting those guns off, keeping our communities safe, and working with our communities so that everyone can have a safe society,” said Louisiana State Police Colonel Lamar Davis.

Colonel Davis believes it will take all hands on down to lessen gun violence in our communities.

“It’s everybody coming together to solve this problem. This is not a law enforcement only problem, it’s not only a community problem, it’s a problem that impacts all of us. So it’s going to take all of us coming together to solve this problem, but it starts with us bridging the gap, being better more accountable, but also working with our communities. And them gaining trust in us, and as they build that trust, they gain that trust, then they feel more comfortable, and I think we can really come together and do a better job of addressing gun violence,” said Col. Davis.

“I don’t think it’s really going to be the answer until we start enforcing laws that we already have on the books to deal with these things. You know when you look at the last two shootings (Uvalde and Highland Park) they’ve had, red flags were there. And it was noticed, I can’t say it wasn’t noticed but it should’ve been noticed. And we have to have people out on streets, not just policing, but you’ve got to have people on the streets that is maintaining the records that’s seized when a red flag gets on the federal level. And we’ve got to make sure everybody below us, everybody around us gets that message, and I think that’s going to do it. You know you’ll never get all the guns off the streets, there’s a bunch of guns, and I’m a proponent of the second amendment, you know I hunt, I shoot sporting clays, but if you’re going to have a weapon, you better be able to secure that weapon,” said Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

And when it comes to these walks, law enforcement officials are hopeful they are at least doing something to curb the violence. But will it actually work?

“But it’s time that we go back to the basic principles of what we live by and how we live as Americans, to say we’re each going to do our part to try and change this,” said Sheriff Gautreaux.

The TRUCE organization is looking to reduce violence by empowering our city’s youth to live safe and productive lives.

To learn more about the non-profit organization, click here.

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