Bridgeport As A Gun-Free Zone

Citizen watchdog John Marshall Lee often addresses the City Council with a series of questions. Monday night he unpacked a bunch of those, but also came armed with a proposal to reduce arms: a gun-free Bridgeport in select areas, a suggestion advanced by community activist Clyde Nicholson. From Lee:

Bridgeport Buries Another Young Gun Violence Victim

(Clinton Howell, Age 12, died in December, 2018). His death prompted one member of the City Council to propose an era of “stop and frisk” in Bridgeport and caused another Council member, a teacher of the youth, to seriously seek an answer regarding youth mortality in the City. James Walker, an OP Ed senior writer for the New Haven Register had a CT Post front page column today: Headlined “The bullets just keep flying.”

Clyde Nicholson can often be observed and sometimes even heard at Bridgeport City Council meetings. When he rises to share his passion for keeping youth alive and away from the mortal dangers of gun violence, he speaks forcefully without notes. Currently he is frustrated by the lack of public concern that can lead to practical action on the part of leadership and different outcomes for the community.

Born in Alabama, Nicholson came to Bridgeport about 40 years ago at age 18. He operates a business dealing in commercial restaurant equipment throughout the region. His children are grown today with ages between 21 and 40, so his continuing campaign and advocacy goes well beyond personal.

He is drawn to this community disgrace where about one-third of homicides share the same facts:

1. An underage victim (and likely assailant)
2. Possession of a stolen/unregistered gun
3. Gun concealed while carried on street within City limits
4. Weapon is discharged
5. Bullet(s) once airborne do not discriminate-they can kill or wound anyone.

Nicholson suggests that Bridgeport vote itself a “City gun free zone” and instruct after serious discussion with the entire community as well as the Public Safety officers on the implications of such a designation. Guns would still be available within homes and businesses. However, they will not be available for drive-by shootings because of new necessary community policing measures and severe penalties for persons found to be breaking the law. We already have Court Houses and Police HQ that are “gun free” sites. “Expand those sites to the City borders,” Clyde suggests. “Isn’t that the way NO SMOKING moved from hospitals, to public buildings, to restaurants and offices? Separate the killing instruments from the people to decrease the risk?”

Make gun punishments severe and certain!! Would an automatic ten-year sentence when caught carrying a gun serve as adequate deterrent? Plus another 10 year added on automatically for each bullet fired? And with a guaranteed 25-year term for murder? Do such sentence deterrents, whatever the color of one’s skin, make the community safer from gun violence?

The police already have dash cameras and vest cameras along with protective bullet proof vests, tasers and gunfire detection equipment for targeting the location where guns are fired. The only additional equipment necessary would be a wand, like those used at the airport, when a police officer identifies himself and with respect asks for citizen cooperation with a wanding. We are told that the police “protect and serve” but when the most frequently used instrument is seen as a gun, can we understand why there is fear in place of cooperation today? Will the act of “wanding” bring more officers into close contact with folks who live on the street and change the feelings from interactions that promote safer living for all, rather than place the police as alternate combatants in a war never expected to end? Time will tell.



  1. all worthwhile. However,The United States Supreme Court has sided with the most “liberal” interpretation” of The 2nd Amendment and the United States Supreme Court is not conducive to strengthening gun control laws. the NRA will be all over this. It can be certainly worth trying.

  2. Frank it’s the same thing as stop and frisk, just with a wand. The concept of a gun free zone is word play. This whole city is technically crime free zone, be it possess of an illegal gun or anything other crime. A far as punishment goes, punishment vie a jail term is always a deterrent. That’s are legal system. Demanding a mandatory sentencing for a gun possession will have to come from the urban communities and cities, against urban community and its cities. But when the city lost that child, it was all about funding for programs, and of course Ernie Stop and Frisk press conference.

    We are so trenched in in a media inducted coma mind set. That we blame the other side for what is wrong with their own side. His points as valid, mandatory steep sentencing, stop and Wand, (frisk) But those measure are far from the NRA stand point. Well maybe the Gun Free Zone part. To them that’s just trying to limit the 2nd Amendment Rights. Up carry is the retarded for the right side. No need for that to protect yourself or family. Ernie is right this is not the wild west. To be fair.

    However, I think his gun free zone for the city was more of a sentiment in lets stop and wand everybody indiscriminately. Again giving the law enforcement the power to stop and wand (frisk) has to be limited to a task force specially designed that has controls with checks and balances to be an effective deterrent without causing harm between them and the communities it serves. And yes under the right condition it can it will be a good deterrent and save lives. Just like ever criminal make sure they leave their shit in car or home before the get know they are going to get wand down. Unless they forget. 🙂

    But not wanding for the police in general as a form of community policing.

    “Will the act of “wanding” bring more officers into close contact with folks who live on the street and change the feelings from interactions that promote safer living for all, rather than place the police as alternate combatants in a war never expected to end?Time will tell.”

    Time does not need to tell, Well maybe a second or two. The answer, HELL NO.

  3. One think is for sure. You are all intelligent enough to reduce the violent crime in the city if you want too. While silence gets you no where, talking only gets you so far, bullshit may get you personal some where but it’s probably gets the city less. Go my team. But how playing for city? ~ RT Bam!

    Bad ass version.

  4. How would you enforce the Gun Free Zones? There are current laws for carrying guns without a permit and for felons in possesssion of guns and ammunition. Criminals thumb their noses at the law and it seems there isn’t any fear for teenagers carrying guns because there is no real punishment for them. Here lies the problem it’s not access to guns it’s the lack of punishment for carrying one. So how do you get kids and people to put the guns down? Too many scores are being settled with guns.

    Kids from the South End are shooting kids from the North Ends just because they don’t live in the same area. Who came up with these boundries? The trash talk on social media or anything else considered a sign of disrespect can get you shot.

    This is the behavior that has to be addressed somehow these kids need be shown there is another way. If a kid uses or carries a gun then treat them as an adult not pitty the poor child and finding excuses for what they do. They know enough to carry it, pull it out and squeeze the trigger they know what they are doing. As far as the adults doing the same thing, drop the full weight of the justice on them. No plea bargains, time off for good behavior or time served credits. Judges don’t like mandatory sentences because it demishes their power and discretion but that needs to change too. All though it’s not all on them but the community leaders and clergy need to be proactive not demanding answers and pointing fingers behind the crime scene tape.

  5. When you go to the Police Department, a State or Federal CourtHouse, one of the high schools, or some of the shows at the Webster Arena, you reach your goal by being “wanded” by a machine (or patted down by an officer if you wear a heart device). The precedent is present in our community and how many readers have been similarly wanded at an airport or other location in the last year?
    The question is are we willing to be “wanded” by public safety officers to reach a goal of eliminating illegal weapons, from the public places where young “knuckleheads” are using unregistered weapons and ammunition, with no licensing to solve imagined problems they are having? Is that goal worthwhile today to save the lives of innocent victims who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? How many citizens will ask for genuine “community policing” not what is practiced in Bridgeport in its absence where officers and community get to know each other, respect the work and presence, and where equipment like video and audio are “on” as witness to what is happening? Who will speak for the lives of the young lost because a community is too frustrated, or too tired of non-accountability to raise their voice and use their mind to craft a “community solution”? Time will tell.

  6. We’d love a “gun-free” zone, but in reality, it’s becoming more like a free-gun zone… Guns are plentiful and cheap in Bridgeport — like illegal drugs… If one were paranoid, one could almost imagine that it was part of a larger design…


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