More than 60 people were indicted on gun charges over the last few weeks, but some are calling for tougher laws to keep the alleged criminals behind bars longer.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien's office said Thursday that the alleged felony crimes included illegal carry of a concealed weapon, having a weapon under disability or felony, and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.
The indictments, which date back to Feb. 1, were sought by the office's Gun Unit, which is made up of five full-time prosecutors who handle guns or illegal weapons cases exclusively. Most of the cases last year were referred by the Columbus police.
A Tech 9 semi-automatic with a large capacity clip, a sawed-off shotgun, pistols and a switchblade were all confiscated from suspects.
"That is the ticking time bomb that is going to go out and do the armed robbery, the drive-by shooting, or engage in a shooting where a third party gets hit," said O'Brien. "Our sentence for having a weapon under disability maxes out at three years."
But O'Brien said the maximum federal sentence is 20 years with an average of five years behind bars.
O'Brien said that penalties for felons caught with a firearm need to be stronger.
"One of the things we need to be doing is protecting the public from these type of individuals," said State Sen. Jim Hughes.
Hughes is part of a state commission that is looking into proposed new laws about felons who are caught with firearms.
"I'm very concerned about how criminals and felons can obtain weapons," Hughes said.
O'Brien said felons aren't buying the guns at a gun store. They're either stolen in a burglary or traded on the street for drugs and cash.
Those indicted include:
The office said that between 2010 and 2012, the prosecutors closed 1,126 gun cases with a conviction rate of more than 98 percent.
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