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Senator Rand Paul talks guns, violent crime, and foreign aid on Lexington visit


Following a chat with the mayor, Senator Paul praised the reduction in Lexington's homicide rate.

So far this year, Lexington has seen five homicides – lower than the seven from this time last year, and more than halved from 2022’s thirteen. All five of 2024’s homicide victims died from gun violence.

Paul opposes gun control; however, he said there are ways of addressing gun violence that don’t require new legislation.

"Sometimes, when we think about gun violence, we get polarized," mused Paul. "Republicans are here, Democrats are here; nothing's happening because we disagree. There is some truth to that; there are definitely disagreements on how we move forward, but I think there are also some things we could do that we could all agree on."

Paul said one of those things is prosecuting felons attempting to buy guns using laws already on the books. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits felons from possessing firearms – it’s a federal crime, with a sentence of 10 years. A 2019 study from the University of California Davis School of Medicine estimates that nearly 100,000 felons in the United States unlawfully own a gun. Paul says relatively few of them face consequences - which he claims is due to a lack of resources.

"We have a $1.2 billion fund for Afghanistan reconstruction. I don't know about everybody else, but I'm kind of tired of sending our money overseas," said Paul. "I think we could spend some of that money here; hire some more U.S. attorneys and actually prosecute some of the felons who are trying to buy guns."

There is currently no nationwide program to recover firearms from felons. Earlier this year, a Louisville judge determined that a convicted felon cannot be prosecuted on a firearms charge because it violates their second amendment rights.