JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville is on the front line in the fight against gun violence. At its worst, the River City was the murder capital of Florida. Times have changed, but perceptions have not.
Action News Paige Kelton sat down with Sheriff John Rutherford and asked if there was still a perception that Jacksonville had a disproportionate amount of gun violence. Sheriff Rutherford says the majority of guns used in gun-related crimes are coming from law abiding citizens.
"Ninety percent of gun related crimes are committed by guns that have been stolen. More than 1400 guns stolen in just one year and it's because people don't store them properly," Sheriff Rutherford said.
Getting the guns out of the hands of criminals is the idea behind Sheriff Rutherford's gun bounty.
Citizens can turn in people with illegal weapons and get a $1,000 reward. So far, the bounty has taken 200 guns off the streets. But the bounty only gets the guns after they've fallen into the wrong hands.
The sheriff says if we want to get serious about stopping gun violence, we need to get serious about background checks.
"If you buy a gun from a private citizen, you don't have to have a background check and that is where the loophole is," said Sheriff Rutherford.
The sheriff wants to close that loophole using a purchase permit. It's a way for law enforcement to track who is buying and selling guns. The sheriff says, only then, will we have a shot at keeping guns in the hands of responsible gun owners.
"There is always going to be bad guys out there and I want people to be able to defend themselves from the bad guys 'cause I can't be everywhere," said Sheriff Rutherford.
Friday night, on Action news we talk to the sheriff about assault weapons. Will a new ban make local families any safer? His response may surprise you Friday on Action News at 11 p.m. on CBS47.
VIsit the JSO web site for more information on the Gun Bounty