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Salt Lake County officials trying to crack down on gun crimes

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 19:45:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Top law enforcement leaders in Salt Lake County hope to tackle gun violence with a warning they will no longer accept plea deals for anyone who used a gun in a crime.

On Wednesday, Salt Lake City police investigated a shooting near the basketball court at Liberty Park. Two people were taken into custody and no one was hurt.

Read - 2 arrested after shooting at Liberty Park

“We have recovered a firearm, this investigation is ongoing,” Sgt. Mark Wian said.

The shooting comes shortly after Salt Lake County’s top law enforcement held a press conference about gun crimes.

“To those going forward who are going to engage in gun violence in the commission of crimes, you are put on notice,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said.

Gill said his office will no longer accept plea deals for anyone who used a gun in a crime. They won’t ask for a reduced sentence, either.

“Our message is, if you’re going to engage in this, we will come after you. They will come after you and we are going to come after you and we will aggressively file and prosecute those cases,” said Gill.

The move comes as violent crime continues to rise in Utah.

Read - University of Utah Black community speaks out on gun violence following Lowe's death

In Salt Lake County, the number of homicides and attempted homicides are close to eclipsing last year’s rates with two and a half months left in the year.

Sixty-six percent of the time, guns were used.

“This has to stop at some point. We can’t continue at this pace. Our trend is going high it’s going to continue to rise if we don’t step in and do something,” said Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera.

Just in Salt lake city this year, they’ve submitted 500 guns into evidence. Law enforcement admit the majority of guns seized were stolen from a home or a car.

“Many of these individuals don’t have a violent criminal history. What does that tell us? It means they are finding guns that are available to them and they are using them,” Sheriff Rivera said.

In Utah last year, a record number of people bought firearms. More guns mean more opportunities for theft, according to Gill, who hopes stronger prosecution will stop crime. I

Police urge gun owners to be responsible and keep firearms locked up in a safe place where they cannot be found or stolen.