12 News Investigates: Jackson police chief discusses illegal weapons on the street

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – While store owners are dealing with shortage with guns and ammunition, the Jackson Chief of Police is finding a high number of illegal guns on the street.

In times of emergency there’s severe changes in supply and demand, we’ve seen it in this pandemic.

It’s not just for cleaning supplies, but also items of self-defense.

“It’s all because of the COVID the primers and powder that it takes to  make the bullets. The factories have shut down and now after the huge demand there is very little supply. Everywhere, you can find it online but it’s very expensive,” said USA Pawn managing partner Nick Fulton.

Guns are just trickling into USA Pawn.

“Wholesalers would call and say I have 100 pistols I want to send you. Okay I’ll take 50, but now they say two.”

While there’s a shortage of ammunition and guns legally being sold. Jackson police chief James Davis has picked up quite of few on the streets– more than 150 since March. He said the mayor’s stay at home order allowed officers to spot people in violation easier.

“The only time we can engage someone about their guns, carrying their guns is if we know they’re a convicted felon with that handgun,” said Chief James Davis.

The chief said under the state’s open carry, the department can’t police guns.

12 News asked Fulton if he sees open carry as a way of giving criminals a pass to get away with weapons in public.

“That’s a farce. Criminals aren’t going to let you know they have a firearm to begin with. They get their guns illegally. Those with the firearm are 2A constitutional Americans,” said Fulton.

The Chief said he can’t pinpoint exactly where the weapons come from that end in the wrong hands but has received complaints.

“I don’t know where exactly where. But I know we have gun shows here often. The citizens talking asking me to do something about the gun shows and they’re finding that their young ones are getting guns from the gun shows or surrounding the gun shows,” said Chief Davis.

Nick Fulton doesn’t participate in shows anymore but has some advice when buying guns there.

“That’s very rare that people are selling and bypassing the law in my opinion if you buy a firearm you should go through the background check unless you have a carry permit,” said Fulton.

The next gun show is December 12-13 at the Mississippi Trademart Center in Jackson.

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