Domestic violence cases prompt gun awareness

2 domestic violence killings in nearby neighborhoods rattle residents

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Neighbors who live near the scenes of Jacksonville's most recent gun violence spoke out on Wednesday night.

"I thought maybe it was firecrackers or something. When I heard people screaming I knew something was wrong," said one neighbor.

Police say two young women have lost their lives at the hands of boyfriends with guns in less than two weeks.  Neighbors in northwest Jacksonville, where a young woman was killed on Thanksgiving Day, said the shooting disturbed their community.

The other shooting happened Tuesday morning in Riverside. In both cases, police said the gunmen were former felons, not allowed to own a gun.

"You know guns are just like car keys anymore. A lot of young people have premature access to guns long before their maturity can deal with it," said a neighbor. 

Neighbors said they want something done to stop ex-cons from getting their hands on guns. Channel 4 Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson said that's easier said than done.

"It's easier for them to get a gun than a meal off the street. They know other felons, other criminals," said Jefferson.

Eric Friday is lead counsel for a gun rights group in the area called Florida Carry. Friday said these cases are not reasons for stronger gun laws.

"Poll after poll show Americans support right to bear arms," said Friday. "We have a war on drugs and banned drugs on the street for 30 years and you've seen how that works. If you can't stop drugs, how can you stop guns?"

In July, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam came out to differentiate ex-cons from legal gun owners.

"They are overwhelmingly law abiding citizens who for a variety of reasons wish to be given a concealed weapons permit," said Putnam.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.