Police say man found with illegal gun in Youngstown despite 3 previous convictions

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Court records show that Clarence Williams has spent nine months in prison for the three previous convictions

Clarence Williams, charged with carrying a concealed weapon in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Reports said Youngstown police Thursday found a loaded semiautomatic handgun on a man who had three previous convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Clarence Williams, 36, was booked into the Mahoning County Jail Thursday on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying concealed weapons.

Friday, Williams was arraigned and Judge Carla Baldwin set his bond at $20,000.

Williams was arrested after police were called about 3:30 p.m. Thursday to the 3600 block of Southern Boulevard for a complaint that three men pointed guns at someone in a car.

Police found three men matching the description of the suspects at a nearby plaza, and when they told the men they would check them for weapons because they were in a high-crime area, Williams walked into a store.

An officer followed Williams into the store and ordered him several times to stop and he finally did, reports said.

Police checked a bag Williams was carrying and found a loaded .45-caliber handgun inside, reports said. The other two men did not have guns and they were free to go, reports said.

Court records show Williams has appeared three previous times in Common Pleas Court on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and has spent nine months in prison.

In 2008 and 2013, he received probation on the charges, which were bound over from municipal court after he was arrested by Youngstown police.

In 2016, Williams was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of heroin in county court in Sebring by the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office. In that case, he received a nine-month prison sentence after the case was bound over to Common Pleas Court, records show.

Youngstown police Chief Robin Lees said it is frustrating to see people who are repeat weapons offenders receive short sentences, like Williams has in the past.

In Ohio, the charge weapons under disability — which is the term for a person who is not allowed to have a gun — is a third-degree felony. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

In federal court, sentences for repeat weapons offenders are usually much higher, which is why some gun cases end up in federal court.

In the past, Lees testified before a state legislature subcommittee calling for enhanced sentences for weapons offenses, including limiting judicial discretion for some cases, including weapons under disability.

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