Dubuque Police Department asking for harsher gun violence penalt - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Police Department asking for harsher gun violence penalties

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The Dubuque Police Department wants state lawmakers to take a long, hard look at gun violence in Iowa.

Police Chief Mark Dalsing said there's a trend -- it's increasing.

Here in town, there have been 19 confirmed shots fired, so far this year. It's a decrease from last year, but Dalsing said that number needs to be even lower. "We know there's more than that, but this is just what is reported to us that we can confirmed happened. It's just too much."

In one of those incidents earlier this month, a man was shot three times near Walnut Street. He survived. Those responsible still haven't been arrested.

Dalsing and other area police chiefs are turning to Iowa lawmakers for help, hoping they'll review current codes and penalties to determine whether they're sufficient.

"Too many times, we are seeing the same person again, and again and again. Maybe they're not directly pulling the trigger, but they're part of the pack that is pulling the trigger."

The department is also recommending a review of sentencing guidelines. Dalsing said most of the time, the people committing gun crimes only serve a few years behind bars, as compared to federal codes.

"If they're not gonna be seeing some substantial time, or other methodology to defer or deter them from doing further crime, we're gonna be dealing with the same people over and over and over again," he said.

Ultimately, area police chiefs want to get repeat offenders off the streets. 

The department is also requesting analytical research into people involved in gun crimes, so they can figure out the cause of the violence, but also find effective treatment. 

City Manager Mike Van Milligen will present the city's requests to lawmakers at the annual Legislative Dinner on Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Grand River Center in Dubuque.

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