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The Trace
January 13, 2017

Records Cast Doubt on Jeff Sessions’s Boast Regarding Federal Gun Prosecutions
By Dan Friedman

The Justice Department does not maintain comprehensive public records on past prosecution trends. But the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, a database at Syracuse University that relies on Freedom of Information Act requests, has collected prosecution records dating to 1986. U.S. Attorneys choose the category that applies to each case, and there is no specific tally of gun prosecutions, which instead are counted under “weapons.” Sessions served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 until 1993. According to the TRAC database, between 1986 and 1990, his office did not prosecute a single defendant in what it counted as a weapons case. Many other U.S. Attorney offices also reported no weapons prosecutions during those years, but some reported dozens. In 1986, the Eastern District of Missouri prosecuted 37 weapons cases. In 1990, the Northern District of Illinois recorded 62 weapons prosecutions.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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