In the past month in a half there have been 39 shooting across the city. It's an alarming number that state, local and federal officials are taking seriously. V-GRIP is a program aimed at catching people who are carrying illegal firearms.
But getting illegal guns off the streets of Toledo presents a unique challenge. The same geography that makes the state ideal for transporting fret loads of goods across country is on the radar of criminals looking to traffic weapons. Special Agent Kyle Walton with the Toledo Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms & Explosives explains. We're at the crossroad for I-75, I-80 so Ohio is a source state for firearms in the country, Walton.
Part of the problem is many of those guns stay right here and end up in the wrong hands. Special Agent Walton says local officials seize more than 400 illegal weapons every year. The consequences of illegally carrying a weapon are stiff. If the person has the right criminal history this gun illegally possessed can subject them to 15 years imprisonment in a federal prison.
Anyone with a criminal weapon caught with ammunition or a weapon that has been modified so it TMs easily concealed can also face a lengthy sentence in a federal prison.
Nabbing the carrier of an illegal firearm is half the battle. We try to trace the guns to their source and find out whose gun running to people who aren TMt allowed to have guns, said Steve Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney General of Northern Ohio.
On average, guns change hands anywhere from 2 to 3 times. And legally purchased weapons, are sometimes stolen or re-sold illegally making them difficult to trace. But V-GRIP is also focusing its efforts on shutting down the suppliers.
The message ought to be clear for the people who are trafficking or possessing illegal firearms if we catch you you're going to prison, Dettelbach.