ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s City Council is saying enough is enough when it comes to gun crimes. Now, they’re urging judges to hand down stricter sentences — and urging the state legislature to toughen the sentences for people who use guns to commit crimes.
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The council says criminals need to be held accountable with significant prison time when they use a gun in a crime, and some state leaders agree. However, they say they need the help of prosecutors, judges and state lawmakers to make it happen.
“I think we have to use every tool in the toolbox,” said Council President Cynthia Borrego. “I think our laws need to be strong and let the criminals know they cannot just go out and commit a crime and go home and go back and commit another crime.”
Borrego says she’s worked with the Albuquerque Police Department to craft a memorial asking prosecutors to seek longer sentences for those who use guns to commit crimes and for judges to impose harsher sentences. She says too often, criminals know how to work the system, so lawmakers need to pass laws with stricter sentences and close loopholes in existing laws.
“We need to make sure that we tighten up these loose ends as much as possible,” said Borrego. “If the laws are not strong enough or if our probation system is not working properly, then we need to find those loopholes.”
The proposed memorial for city council cites the crime wave hitting the city and highlights cases where police officers have been shot by convicted felons. Borrego says they also want to see a 24/7 GPS monitoring system put in place for suspects awaiting trial and convicts on probation — and have police immediately notified when they break the rules.
State Rep. Moe Maestas says he’s on board with that idea. “We need to devote the resources,” said Rep. Maestas. “In Santa Fe, we’re prepared to adequately fund the GPS monitoring system here.”
However, after House Democrats announced a comprehensive crime package that doesn’t include longer sentences, Maestas says more can be done with the laws currently on the books. “The judge has a range of years to sentence a person and violent criminals must have the harshest sentences,” said Rep. Maestas.
If passed, the city would send the memorial to every state lawmaker in Albuquerque, along with the leaders of the House and the Senate. City Council will consider the memorial during Wedneday afternoon’s meeting, set for 3 p.m.