Mayor plans initiative to get guns away from teenagers

Jacksonville leaders respond to 2 double shootings downtown within 3 weeks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a shooting Jan. 4 at Art Walk injured two teenagers, and after a 16-year-old died and a 13-year-old were injured in a shooting Monday at the Jacksonville Landing, people downtown are talking about crime and violence. Some are nervous.

Mayor Lenny Curry and other city leaders are discussing efforts to make downtown streets safer. Curry said Wednesday he'll soon announce a new initiative to get guns away from teenagers.

"You're going to see me leading an effort and bringing people together in a very organized manner in the very near future to go out and lead on getting these guns out of the kids' hands," Curry said Thursday.

Curry said he can't talk specifics as they are still working on the idea, but said we will know shortly. And it won’t be just a one-day media blitz.

"It's going to be a very public campaign," Curry said.

Curry met with new State Attorney Melissa Nelson and the FBI on Wednesday and discussed the issue. City Council is also talking about what needs to be done to make downtown safer.

"We have to do it together. I don't think we can do it by ourselves," City Councilman Garrett Dennis said. "Government can't solve all of the issues, but we play a part, like there were multiple tools in the toolbox."
Councilman Bill Gulliford said if we don’t act now, the violence is going to spread

"I think we need to take a hard look in our neighborhoods (that) have been degraded and take steps to improve them," Gulliford said. "I think you're going to see other situations, not necessarily downtown, but (in) nice neighborhoods (where residents are being) preyed upon by people coming out of bad neighborhoods."

Police said the victims of the recent shootings were not cooperating with investigators and officers had no new information. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office continues to ask anyone who witnessed either shooting or has any information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

About the Author: