Troubleshooters: From autonomy to a new act, leaders propose ideas to curb gun violence

With gun violence claiming a record number of lives in Louisville, city leaders are offering possible solutions to the problem.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:53 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With gun violence claiming a record number of lives in Louisville, city leaders are offering possible solutions to the problem.

Wednesday, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg and LMPD Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel shared their concerns about decisions regarding convicted felons with guns by some judges at the county and state courthouses.

But just a five-minute drive away at the federal courthouse, it’s a different story, where there’s no parole and minimum sentences exist.

Under the direction of Shawn Marrow, the Special Agent in Charge at ATF Louisville Division, the agency has grown its relationship with the Louisville Metro Police Department, particularly with its relatively new Non-Fatal Shootings Unit.

The federal agency has offered up its gun-tracing tools and resources, tasking ATF agents to work alongside detectives and reviewing state cases for possible federal avenues.

The agency has also aggressively gone after felons committing crimes with a firearm.

“If you use that gun to hurt someone else,” Marrow said, “you’re going to be the focus of an ATF and LMPD Investigation.”

In an exclusive Troubleshooter Investigation, we learned at least 50% of felons convicted on gun charges are either placed on probation or home incarceration in Jefferson County.

“Over 70% of these folks that are committing these crimes with guns are not serving their entire sentence,” Republican Representative Jarod Bauman said.

He is pushing for the proposed Safer Kentucky Act to become law. The Act includes several different provisions affecting violent crime, one of which focuses on repeat offenders.

Under the Act, a felon committing a crime with a gun would have to serve their entire sentence. They would no longer be eligible for probation, parole or other form of early release.

“Somebody that comes back into society and doesn’t re-offend doesn’t have anything to worry about under the Safer Kentucky Act,” Bauman said.

Mayor Craig Greenberg who campaigned on making Louisville a safer city shared his own list of proposals aside from creating programs for youth and investing in parks and libraries.

He is asking the state legislature to help with funding for flock monitoring cameras, license plate readers and gunshot detectors.

He would also like to change the state’s wire-tap laws to allow for more authority to do so.

“We met in this room with leaders of the Jefferson County Republican Delegation in the Senate and the House talking about issues that can move Kentucky, and the state and the city forward,” Greenberg said. “And a big part of that conversation was making our city safer.”

Perhaps his biggest ask though, is gaining more autonomy so the city can pass its own laws like having a longer wait period for first time gun buyers, universal background checks and destroying confiscated weapons.