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May 16, 2011

Federal firearms prosecutions decline in U.S., but surge in Mobile; why?
By Brendan Kirby, Press-Register

January lowest month for firearms cases in U.S. since 2001 The national data on firearms cases is available through the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. Using that data, Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, concluded that the 484 gun cases filed in January were the least for any month since George W. Bush took office as president in January 2001. The annual numbers are grouped in federal fiscal years, which begin each Oct. 1. Before fiscal 2011, federal gun prosecutions were also declining in Mobile, falling to 65 in 2010. A jump began in October, however, and by the end of March, the case number had reached 68. TRAC records show that gun offenders in Mobile routinely receive shorter sentences than the national average, which could bolster arguments that prosecutors are pursuing less-serious cases. In 2008, for example, the median sentence for local gun offenders was 30˝ months, only about half the national average. Records kept by TRAC show that the percentage of firearms cases accepted by federal prosecutors in Mobile consistently is among the highest in the country. In 2008, for example, the U.S. Attorney’s Office refused only 12.2 percent of such cases presented by police agencies.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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