Research shows that mandatory minimum sentences do not reduce gun violence. In fact, restrictions of that nature are costly and counterproductive. According to a new report released by the Northwestern School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, evidence shows promising leads about alternative approaches to reducing gun violence.

In their landmark report,  Combating Gun Violence in Illinois: Evidence-Based Solutions, researchers found that targeting interventions such as focused policing are more effective in the reduction of gun violence. This includes community-based programs in high-risk areas, along with an increased police presence.

They site a 2013 report ordered by President Obama that called into question the effectiveness of mandatory sentences. The initiative strongly focused on eliminated firearms in high-risk communities through police intervention tactics and deterred gang presence, in part by offering alternatives to prosecution for gun possession. As a result, communities saw a 68% reduction in gun violence in one year.