Updated: Wednesday, 17 Dec 2008, 1:26 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 17 Dec 2008, 1:04 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The mayor of Indianapolis is considering a bold and probably
controversial step to curb violent crime in the city.
During a deadly summer time stretch of Central Indiana violence, Mayor Greg Ballard gave his police department an order.
"Reduce violent crime. That's all I told them. I said "all this other stuff you're doing', I don't care," said Mayor Ballard.
As pace of murders slowed, but never stopped the mayor said he kept searching for answers.
"I'm just looking for the "big hit", the big impact of violent crime. That's what I keep going back to, that's what I really want to do if it can have a dramatic impact," said Ballard.
Then in November, Ballard got inspiration from, of all places, a football star that shot himself in the leg. Giant Plaxico Burress is fighting 3 years in prison, not for the shooting, but for the weapon. Even if Burress had never fired, New York has mandatory jail time for carrying a gun that's not registered with the city. Ballard thinks what works there might also work in Indy.
"I wonder about our gun laws. Should we be harsher with our gun laws," said Ballard.
Ballard's idea is clearly still in its earliest stages. He told 24-Hour News 8 his hopes before he even mentioned them to his own staff or public safety director. He revealed it, unexpectedly, during an otherwise routine interview about his first year in office.
"I'd like to look at gun laws, frankly. Penalties for illegal guns," said Ballard.
Ballard said he knows many will oppose the idea, and he wants to make clear what kind of guns he'd target.
"I have no problem with second amendment legal guns. No problem what so ever on that. It's the illegal guns that are concerning," said Ballard.
New York's mayor pushed the issue through at the city level. But, Ballard said he'd have to work with state government and acknowledges Indiana lawmakers may not have the time in 2009.
"It may be a down-the-line issue. It's a very tough session. I'm not sure anybody will be paying attention at this point in time. I expect the session to be about government reform and the budget this time," said Ballard.
Mayor Ballard said he's not sure how and when he will try to take the next step, but he's convinced that in the effort to end violent crime; illegal guns are a good place to start. Ballard may find support from the mayors of two other large Indiana cities.
The mayors of Fort Wayne and South Bend have signed on to an effort by New York's mayor to strengthen illegal gun laws.
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