Weapons Convictions for October 2017

Number Latest Month 624
Percent Change from previous month -12.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago 21.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
6.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
6.5
Table 1. Criminal Weapons Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2017 the government reported 624 new weapons convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 12.7 percent over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for weapons-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (see Table 1).

When monthly 2017 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was up (21%). Convictions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are up 6.5 percent from levels reported in 2012.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Weapons Convictions

The leveling out from the levels five years ago in weapons convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of weapons convictions of this type recorded on a month-to-month basis. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court, the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.

Within the broad category of weapons, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

Case types within weapons are

  • Armed Career Criminal Act

  • Firearms/Triggerlock

  • Other Operation Triggerlock Prosecutions

The largest number of convictions of these matters in October 2017 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 100 percent of convictions. See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for weapons convictions in October 2017 was ATF accounting for 68 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of weapons convictions were: FBI (10% ), Local (9%), DHS (5%), DEA (3%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3. Convictions by Investigative Agency

Weapons Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In October 2017, no defendants in weapons cases for these matters were filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. These courts handle less serious misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court where subsequent proceedings take place.

Weapons Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2017, 624 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 0 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and therefore cover all matters filed in district court during October.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of weapons matters filed in U.S. District Court during October 2017.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 538 1 1 1 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 24 2 2 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 13 3 3 4 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 12 4 10 7 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 12 4 7 6 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 11 6 4 3 More
18 USC 3583 - Term of supervised release after imprisonment 2 7 9 15 More
18 USC 3665 - Firearms possessed by convicted felons 2 7 20 29 More
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1 9 28 17 More
18 USC 545 - Smuggling goods into the United States 1 9 - - More
18 USC 1708 - Theft or receipt of stolen mail matter generally 1 9 - - More
18 USC 2119 - Carjacking 1 9 8 9 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 1 9 28 - More
18 USC 3653 - Report of Probation Off and Arrest of Probationer 1 9 - - More
21 USC 813 - Treatment of Controlled Substance Analogues 1 9 - - More
26 USC 5841 - Registration of firearms 1 9 20 15 More
26 USC 5845 - Tax on Making Firearms 1 9 20 23 More
26 USC 5861 - Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts 1 9 5 5 More
Table 2. Top Charges for Convictions

  • "Firearms; Unlawful acts" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Firearms; Unlawful acts" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Firearms; Penalties" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 924. "Firearms; Penalties" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 924 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841. "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions — up 600 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326 that involves " Reentry of deported alien ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 500 percent — was registered for convictions under " Firearms possessed by convicted felons " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 3665 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 3.6 percent — was " Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts " (Title 26 U.S.C Section 5861 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 16.9 % — when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 231.7 weapons convictions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of weapons convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of convictions per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3. Districts must have at least 5 weapons convictions to receive a ranking.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
La, M 1,437 10 1 85 90 More
Mo, E 1,351 33 2 2 21 More
Iowa, S 1,328 20 3 37 33 More
Tenn, W 1,300 17 4 19 8 More
Ala, S 1,279 9 5 31 19 More
Ala, M 1,147 11 6 66 83 More
Montana 921 8 7 27 53 More
S Dakota 846 6 8 47 82 More
Fla, N 845 13 9 46 74 More
Mo, W 835 22 10 3 9 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) — with 1437 convictions as compared with 231.7 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during October 2017.

  • The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked 2nd. The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) was ranked 2 a year ago.

  • Southern District of Iowa (Des Moines) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Western District of Tennessee (Memphis), now ranked 4th , and Montana at 7th In the same order, these districts ranked 19th and 27th one year ago and 8th and 53rd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of weapons convictions compared to one year ago — 214.3 percent — was Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge). This was the same district that had the largest increase — 266.7 percent — when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked District Judges

At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new weapons crime cases resulting in convictions of this type during October 2017 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Crabtree, Daniel Dale Kansas 15 1 More
Lipman, Sheryl Halle Tenn, W 11 2 More
Rodgers, Margaret Catharine Fla, N 10 3 More
Jarvey, John Alfred Iowa, S 9 4 More
Harpool, M. Douglas Mo, W 9 4 More
Perry, Catherine D. Mo, E 8 6 More
Sippel, Rodney W. Mo, E 8 6 More
Thompson, Myron Herbert Ala, M 6 8 More
Young, Richard L. Ind, S 6 8 More
Parker, Linda Vivienne Mich, E 6 8 More
White, Ronnie Lee Mo, E 6 8 More
Conrad, Robert James, Jr. N Car, W 6 8 More
Rossiter, Robert F., Jr. Nebraska 6 8 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 6 8 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 8 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of weapons convictions per capita, while the remaining 6 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 14 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Daniel Dale Crabtree in the District of Kansas ranked 1st with 15 convicted in weapons convictions.

  • Judge Sheryl Halle Lipman in the Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) ranked 2nd with 11 convicted in weapons convictions.

  • Judge Margaret Catharine Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) ranked 3rd with 10 convicted in weapons convictions.

Report Generated: November 28, 2017
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