On Wednesday’s “PBS NewsHour,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) rejected arguments that forcing prosecutors to see through felony firearms charges would help prevent mass shootings like the Michigan State University shooting — whose perpetrator was originally charged with a felony gun crime — because so many people illegally carry guns in the state, that if everyone who did so was incarcerated, they’d have to build more prisons and so “it’s not a matter of incarcerating our way through this problem, it’s a matter of making guns less accessible and available to people.”
Co-host Amna Nawaz asked, “I should note the State Senate Minority Leader, Aric Nesbitt, had said one of the things to do is to address root causes. He doesn’t believe any of these bills would do that. And he says, look, if prosecutors were forced to see through the convictions on the gun violations — as would have been the case in the previous felony charge with this gunman — that is one way, he says, would address the root cause and prevent these from happening. Do you agree with that?”
Nessel responded, “No, I think he’s absolutely false. And here’s why I say that: Carrying a concealed weapon is the crime that this individual, Mr. McRae, was originally charged with. In Michigan, that’s technically a five-year felony. But our guidelines in Michigan really don’t even allow someone to spend much time at all in jail unless they have many previous offenses. And, as far as I know, this was a first-time weapons-related offense for this individual. That is such a common crime here that, if we were to lock up everyone who illegally carried a gun, we’d have to build more prisons. So, to me, it’s not a matter of incarcerating our way through this problem, it’s a matter of making guns less accessible and available to people.”
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