Smaller Miss. cities confiscate more guns than Jackson

The number of violent attacks and murders

with firearms in Jackson far exceeds the rates of similar crimes in

other Mississippi cities, but police in the capital city confiscate

only a fraction of the guns collected by law enforcement in smaller


A review of evidence logs shows Jackson police confiscate fewer

firearms than police departments in Biloxi and Vicksburg, despite

those cities' smaller sizes and lower crime rates, according to a

report in The Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

For every gun confiscated in Jackson, police officers in Biloxi

seize two firearms and officers in Vicksburg take in five, the

report said.

While it is difficult to form a direct correlation, homicide

rates in Vicksburg and Biloxi are just a fraction of Jackson's rate

of one homicide for every 4,085 residents.

Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes said law enforcement is

doing a great job, but could do better.

"They're trying, and I want to give them an "A" for effort.

But we've got to do more because we've got too many guns in this

city and anybody and everybody with a gun," Stokes said.

Stokes said would like to initiate a gun buy-back program and

stop gun shows from coming to the city.

The issue of when to take someone's gun is getting attention in

Jackson because of last week's fatal shooting of a mother of three.

According to police, Henry Phillips, 50, allegedly fatally shot

Doris Shavers, 40, after police had responded to Shavers house at

least twice over reports of a man with a gun. The officers did not

confiscated Phillips' weapons despite reports that he was fighting

with Shavers, who is thought to be is former girlfriend. When the

officers left the home, Phillips allegedly shot Shavers.

"I think we should establish a policy that if there is a

violent situation dealing with guns, the rule should be the gun

must be removed and taken to the precinct," Stokes said. "Even if

the gun is a legal gun, legally possessed gun, that person should

go to the precinct to retrieve the gun, which would be a time to

cool off. You've got to have a cooling-off period."

Vicksburg Police Chief Tommy Moffett said his department takes

an "aggressive posture" in taking guns from suspected criminals.

Since 2002, Vicksburg police have logged in more than 1,500

firearms ranging from pellet guns to AK-47s.

Moffett said more than one-third were determined to be stolen,

and half were kept as evidence in a crime. He attributes the high

rate to the department's low number of unserved warrants.

"We make an all-out effort to make sure warrants are served,"

he said. "That puts us in contact with people, and the end result

can be seizing stolen guns or drugs or other contraband. When I

started here six years ago, in a town of 27,000 we had roughly

9,000 warrants that weren't served, and that was just ridiculous."

Hinds County has a major problem with unserved warrants. Court

officials said in June that more than 91,000 unserved warrants were

on record, half of which were for parking or moving violations.

During the past five years, the Jackson Police Department, on

average, has taken fewer than 50 guns a year off the city's

streets, according to the report. Local officials say that record

is starting to change, thanks to a multi-jurisdictional gun

interdiction unit based in the city.

Police Chief Shirlene Anderson said the unit had confiscated

more than 300 guns this year.