Melissa Nelson wants longer sentences for people convicted in gun crimes

State attorney says she has checklist for enhanced penalties

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Melissa Nelson, the state attorney for Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, says she is fighting back against gun violence by seeking longer sentences for people convicted in gun crimes.

The State Attorney’s Office did research to see how it was handling gun violence cases and it decided to come up with a checklist to determine the property penalty if someone is found guilty. Every scenario will be considered.

“It’s not a reaction to one thing. It was formulated and put together by multiple people after a lot of thought,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s office says there have been 79 gun related homicides in Jacksonville 2020 and that as of early August there had been over 300 non-domestic shootings.

Ben Frazier, a community activist in Jacksonville, has been outspoken about gun violence. He released a statement about the checklist, which reads in part:

“If somebody is pulling triggers in our city and they are in jail, they can’t hurt or kill someone while they are in jail,” Nelson said.

The state attorney doesn’t know if the change will help reduce crime but she wants it to be resource to help the community and help her office do their job effectively.

Nelson hopes that it is a deterrent specifically to stop gun violence in the city.

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