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Ballard: There’s a ‘pretty obvious’ way to reduce gun violence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says there is a “pretty obvious” way to reduce gun violence, but “nobody wants to go there.”

Ballard says a mandatory minimum sentence should be imposed on people who commit crimes with guns.

He told 24-Hour News 8, based on the city’s tracking of cases, “homicides in 2014 would have been dramatically less, dramatically less.”

The Mayor said the 2015 numbers are similar to those of last year.

He believes such a sentencing system would be influential because most suspects and most victims already have criminal records.

Mandatory minimums, he said, would make it clear that any gun crime will lead to more than a couple years in jail.

Ballard said he’d like the minimum to be 20 years. But, he said, even a mandatory minimum of 10 years would have reduced the number of homicides this year and last year.

Ballard praised the police, saying they are “working as hard as they possibly can.”

He would like to see a system develop that would allow adults to find young people before they get in trouble.

“You’re not going to turn the tide unless we start at an earlier age — to make sure these young men and women don’t go down the wrong path,” he said.

He predicted that process could take 15 or 20 years. So, until then, we need to do a better job “of differentiating between people who need help and a hand up — and the people who are truly violent and need to go away for a long, long time.”