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City of Vicksburg to impose ‘maximum penalty’ for discharge of firearms

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. is aiming to close what he called a “loophole” in the punishment for gun crimes within the city.

While it is already illegal to discharge firearms in city limits, Flaggs said during Friday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that the penalties can, and will, be increased and strictly enforced.

“(Thursday), I met with (the prosecutors, judges, and city attorney) to close the loophole regarding the discharge of firearms in this city,” Flaggs said. “We’re making certain that the maximum fine and jail time is implemented, and we’re working with the county. If you fire a firearm in this city, you’ll get the maximum misdemeanor we can charge you with.”

Flaggs said some of the measures discussed included ankle monitors, increased fines and increased time detained in jail.

“People get arrested, and get bonds and then get payment plans and walk out,” he said. “I never understand why we can let someone take somebody’s life and let them walk around in the street. People are walking around in Kroger and seeing the person who took their loved one’s life.”

He said in some instances, individuals with ankle monitors have been spotted in local late-night establishments.

“We’ve identified people with ankle bracelets in the nightclubs. I’ve seen it myself,” Flaggs said. “People will be able to go home and to work, and that is it.”

Other matters discussed in relation to the Vicksburg Police Department — and other city offices — include an upcoming evaluation of pay scales.

“In the first 100 days, I want to recommend to this board that we raise minimum wage by 50 cents,” Flaggs said. “In relation to the police department, we want to look at the pay scale.

“I have a bad feeling about raising too much for anyone who makes $40,000 or more. I’m looking for the little guy. The guy in the cemetery, the guy you call night and day to get your gas or water cut off or on. This is the year for little people.”

Flaggs also mentioned the possibility of leftover Federal coronavirus relief funds being used to hire more police officers, but said the board would need to discuss receipt and distribution of such funds with city grants coordinator Nancy Allen before any concrete plans were made.