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State program leads to over 500 illegal gun confiscations

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A statewide public safety campaign has led to the removal of more than 500 illegal guns from people on probation or parole.

An update on Michigan’s Operation Safe Neighborhoods initiative, which involves the Michigan Department of Corrections working with local law enforcement to conduct compliance checks on people under state supervision, shows gun removal data.

MDOC legislative liaison Kyle Kaminski said the program has been effective since it launched a little over a year ago.

“We are confident that getting 500 guns out of the hands of high risk folks has made communities safer. It’s probably saved people’s lives, made communities safer; it’s probably helped prevent the escalation of violence in communities,” Kaminski said.

Kaminski said targeted searches involve agents going out with local law enforcement to the homes or workplaces of people on parole or probation who aren’t allowed to have a gun to check for compliance.

More than 4,500 check-ins have been completed as part of the program, a press release announcing the update said.

Still, far more illegal guns could remain. Detroit's most recent numbers show over 7,000 illegal guns seized in that city alone in 2020 and 2021.

Kaminski said the operation is just one part of addressing the issue of illegal guns.

“It’s really [going] after those situations that we think pose the greatest risk to the public. We know we have tools and assessments to help us understand who poses the greatest risk," Kaminski said. "We’re able to use that to really target our efforts."

Michigan has roughly 40,000 people either on parole or probation, according to numbers Kaminski provided.

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