Prosecutors hoping to crack down on convicted felons with guns

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Crime in East Baton Rouge Parish is a hot button topic but area law enforcement agencies are trying to tighten the grip on one specific group.

"It's one that we face and a lot of people are carrying guns," said Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore says being a felon in possession of a firearm is a major offense and a conviction can equal a long jail sentence but proving that is no easy task. Over the last few months his office has been working with police officers to make sure all is being done to aid in prosecution.

"Now, that gun we find in a car or on the ground that someone has dropped or thrown down that gun is being handled as if it was a murder weapon and we'll get DNA swabs and fingerprints and try to directly link it to that defendant so we can better prove our case in court," said Moore.

Cracking down on felons with guns is far from an exact science and while agencies like the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office can do their part, Moore says attacking the mind set of those carrying the guns is just as important.

"A lot of these guys on the street will tell you they'd rather be caught with a gun than caught without one on the street so rather caught by the police and face time than be caught without a gun on the street and face some uncertain consequence which is a scary thought and one thing which we're fighting," said Moore.

According to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections the rate of habitual offenders in the state is just over 45 percent, so Moore says his office and the U.S. attorney are teaming up to go after the most serious criminals.

"Sometimes the feds can get more time than we can sometime we can so we're looking at the cases together and we'll decide who can best handle this defendant under these particular facts and circumstances," added Moore.

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