JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Sen. Audrey Gibson says one way to tackle crime in Jacksonville is to bring in the National Guard.
“We’re not safe and bringing in the guard is certainly an option,” Gibson said, addressing reporters on Monday following a rash of shootings that left four people dead and two injured.
Gov. Ron DeSantis would have to activate the National Guard to active duty, for guardsmen to patrol parts of Jacksonville to protect families from gun violence.
If that were to happen, it wouldn’t be the first time.
In 1992, former governor Lawton Chiles ordered the guard to patrol 13 miles of highway after dozens of drivers were attacked on Interstate 295.
The attacks included shootings from moving cars, overpasses and from the side of the road. There were also over a dozen cases of rocks and bricks being hurled at passing cars.
Eventually, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested two teenagers in the months-long crime spree.
Now, 27 years later, Jacksonville just finished a year with 109 murders with growing fear 2019 could be worse.
Gibson says the situation is urgent and JSO can’t keep up.
“I’m not interested so much in having armed guardsmen on every corner but we need to have a bigger presence in this city,” Gibson said.
It’s important to note since the last time the National Guard was called in 1992, Jacksonville has gone through stretches of even higher rates of violent crime, including 2007, which had 123 murders. Even then, the National Guard was not called into Jacksonville.