Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes of Ward 3 has recommended that violent criminal cases involving felons with guns be referred to the United States Attorney's Office for federal prosecution.
Those cases are currently being handled locally.
Stokes said in a Tuesday council meeting not long after speaking with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the council should take a broad approach.
"I feel they want to help the city with the crime issues," Stokes said. "The constant issue that we run into is our police is significantly understaffed, which leads to what some consider as too much crime in Jackson. This particular step I believe will help the city in a powerful way."
The U.S. Attorney's Office did not comment as to whether its office would manage such cases.
Stokes said he didn't have the statistics to back it up but believes most of the crime done in Jackson is being done by felons that have gained access to guns.
The council later passed a vote 6 to 0 to turn such cases over to the U.S. Attorney's Office, with one abstention by Councilman Brian Grizzell of Ward 4.
"We know that it is against the law for a felon to have a gun but they feel it's better to have it and don't need it rather than to need it and don't have it," Stokes said. "That criminal thinking is fueling the fire to the criminal activity in Jackson."
Stokes said that carjacking is also on the rise, which he believes could potentially lead to additional murders.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: City asks U.S. Attorney's Office to handle felons guns in Jackson, MS.