Miami police chief Art Acevedo calls the dual shootings in Miami-Dade ‘an indication of the problem we have with the scourge of gun violence in this country’
“It’s just an indication of the problem we have with the scourge of gun violence in this country that we need to do much more at a federal level to stop,” Art Acevedo, chief of the Miami Police Department, told CBS’ Face the Nation.
The first shooting broke out on Friday night in Miami’s Wynwood district, and the second occurred on Saturday night in Hialeah, just south of Miami. Collectively, the violence left three people dead and at least 26 people wounded.
Mr Acevedo said politicians at the national level should be doing more to stop the bloodshed.
“First and foremost, they need to come out of their own corners, the left and the right, and come to the middle, which is where most Americans are,” the police chief said, calling for specific reforms.
“We need to have universal background checks,” he said bluntly. “We need to make burglarizing these licensed gun stores a federal crime with mandatory sentencing. And we need the federal government and both sides to address this issue because without legislation, without certainty as it relates to holding these criminals accountable, we’re never going to get through the summer without much more death and destruction.”
A large majority of Americans, including 83 per cent of gun owners, support universal background checks for gun purchases. The House of Representatives has repeatedly passed legislation to expand the checks, but the bills have languished in the Senate, which until recently was controlled by Republicans.
Another part of the problem, Mr Acevedo said, is that the justice system is moving too slowly to punish the shooters.
“Our criminal court system across this country is absolutely at a standstill,” he said. “They are not moving cases. Thousands of felons [are] running around and cases [are] languishing three to five, six years before they even go to court. We’ve got to get our system back on track.”
When host John Dickerson asked if this backlog was due to the pandemic, Mr Acevedo said Covid was not an excuse.
“It’s time for the president, Congress and governors to get our court system up and running,” he said. “It starts with the presidential commission, getting our criminal justice system back online and having real consequences for these felons that are carrying these firearms that are not afraid of death, but they are afraid of state prison. And we need to deliver some safety to the American people.”