Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 2, 2021

DA’s office to use new state law to curb gun violence

Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston plans to bolster the fight against gun violence by capitalizing on a new state law.

The Tennessee legislature recently passed a law that calls for increased jail time for felons who commit crimes while in possession of a firearm. The law went into effect July 1.

Currently, a felon convicted of committing a crime while in possession of a firearm must serve 30% of his or her sentence. The new law boosts that to 85%.

“This renewed effort is an extension of our TARGET initiative, which we started in 2016 to focus on gang and gun violence,” Pinkston says. “This will place a more detailed focus on guns, based on the new sentencing laws.”

TARGET stands for Tactical All Region Gang Enforcement Team – a joint effort by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to cut gun violence and gang-related crime.

Two members of Pinkston’s office will lead this effort: Assistant District Attorney Colin Campbell, who worked on similar initiatives with the Memphis District Attorney’s Office, and Investigator Ben Scott, who is a retired resident special agent in charge with the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Campbell and Scott, along with others in Pinkston’s office, will work with the newly expanded gun unit at the Chattanooga Police Department and other local, state and federal agencies to investigate and prosecute these cases.

“Chattanooga is a great place to live and work,” Pinkston says. “However, this city does have a serious problem with gun violence, and my office will do everything it can to use this new state law to make our city safer.”

Source: Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office