SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Last week, the Savannah City Council passed a memorandum to appoint a special assistant United States Attorney to crack down on gun violence in Savannah on a federal level.

Though the decision was not unanimous Mayor Van Johnson emphasized his own excitement about the new position during his weekly press conference Wednesday.

Johnson reiterated that this is a big step for Savannah in the fight against gun violence, saying the new position will allow the city to tackle the issue on multiple levels. He said the city has focused on prevention and intervention measures and that this new position goes a step further to incorporate a prosecutorial approach.

“I’m not going to let gun crime be the narrative in our city,” Johnson said.

A step towards a safer Savannah that’s what Johnson says the decision to appoint a special assistant united states attorney offers the city

“This has happened in other cities throughout the country and has worked out well,” Johnson added. “For us, it means that we’re serious about gun crimes and were serious about those who are involved in gun-related activity in our community.”

The decision came as the Hostess City continues to grapple with the devastating impacts of gunplay in the community, something the mayor said Georgia’s gun laws exacerbate.

“We have a gun law in Georgia that makes no sense, as a result, guns are across the country being used in crimes that are being traced back to Georgia,” Johnson said. “Georgia is the number one state in which these guns are traced back to and we have to do something. We know that we have a state system that is backlogged but we have trigger pullers on our streets and some of them are involving themselves in crimes that reach the federal plateau.”

Once appointed, the assistant attorney will prosecute people for federal offenses like felony possession of a firearm or gang-related crime.

“Federal Governments have jurisdiction nationwide, so if there are guns emanating in or out Savannah, if there’s activity going on between state lines, the U.S. Attorney is empowered to go after these individuals nationwide,” Johnson said.

The mayor said prosecuting shooters on the federal level means harsher sentences.

“We know that federal time is real-time, it’s significant time and you do that time anywhere in the country, so here’s an opportunity for us to do something big, to do something significant,” Johnson said.

While the decision has met opposition and doubts, Johnson said it’s the next best step for the city to take.

“I’ve spoken extensively about our work in terms of making sure we have a fully funded and well-staffed police force, I’ve talked about our issues on the prevention front, I’ve talked about our issues on the intervention front, this is issues on our prosecutorial front,” Johnson said.

Now that the money for the position has been appropriated, the hiring process is underway. The mayor laid out an estimated timeline for when someone will be appointed and said Wednesday that it will take several weeks for both the hiring process and for the candidate to be vetted on the federal level.