AKRON -- While leaders in Washington discuss gun control moving forward, what about the guns already out there?
In Akron, Police Chief James Nice has started his own war to collect illegal weapons before tragedy strikes again.
He says it's the most important crime problem in the city.
"I've been working on this since the day I got here," said Nice.
Chief Nice has made ithis mission: get illegal guns out of our neighborhoods.
In 2011, APD seized 549 illegal weapons. In 2012, it was 652.In January alone, officers seized 70 illegal firearms. But it's not enough.
"To be taking more than a thousand guns, more than 1,200 guns in two years, the cops are risking their lives, and the guy's not even getting a day in jail, is very frustrating," said
Nice says stricter penalties for illegal guns are needed. He can't quantify how many illegally owned or illegally carried guns are out there, but he says it's "more than you'd think."
"Right now there is no penalty for carrying a gun," said Nice. "There is no message to the people carrying guns that something bad will happen. Their friends all know when they come home that afternoon after being arrested with a loaded gun in the city in their waistbands, nothing happens, that is part of the problem."
Recent cases renewed his fight.
Why did convicted felon Terrance Allen have a gun? Where did he get it? It's one thing detectives are looking into as they investigate the death of his 4-year-old son Jamarcus, fatally shot last month when he found the gun inside his dad's car.
"I'm not for getting guns out of America, I'm for getting guns out of the hands of people carrying them illegally and using them in gun violence," he said.
Nice says the only way to stop tragedies is to get guns out of the wrong hands. He thinks current proposals are looking at the wrong problem.
"Why is there no legislation relative to real gun violence?" he said.
"They're missing the boat on the assault weapons and long magazines, and they're not doing anything regarding gun violence."