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Convicted felons getting guns on the streets

Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 6:12pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — Convicted felons are not allowed to have guns, but East Baton Rouge District Attorney, Hillar Moore, says a lot of them find a way to get those weapons.

Convicted felons can't buy guns in stores. There are laws against selling to them. Instead, the guns are falling into the wrong hands in other ways.

"I'm assuming most of them are stolen and bought off the street," Moore says.

That leads to big problems.

"As you know, 98% of homicides are by guns. The number of those that are actually stolen? I'm not sure. Bought off the street? I'm not sure, but surely that would be a decent percentage."

A four-year-old child accidentally shot and killed himself while playing with his dad's loaded gun Wednesday. Police say his father is a convicted felon. He shouldn't have had a gun.

"The problem is the gun is unsecured," says Moore. "It's left where a four-year-old can get it and that's just unacceptable."

Law enforcement provide programs, like Gas for Guns, to stop that from happening.

"Had the gun been sold or turned into us for cash or gas, this wouldn't have happened."

Not everyone comes forward, and that's where the real trouble lies. "A convicted felon wouldn't come forward himself with that gun to turn in," Moore says. "The programs are designed for unsecured weapons, not the killers on the street. We don't expect to turn them instead."

For convicted felons, police have to stay vigilant. Moore says often times those peopel are caught with the firearm in their possession.

"Police, sheriff's office, are doing this on a daily and nightly basis, so we are trying to make some impact," Moore explains. "It seems that the number that is out there is fairly large."

If a convicted felon is caught with a gun, that person could be sentenced to at least ten years in prison and up to $5,000.

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