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The Trace
January 14, 2019

Records Show Few Unlicensed Private Gun Sellers Face Federal Penalties
By Sean Campbell

Using data provided by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, we analyzed gun prosecutions during Obama’s last year in office, and during the first two years of Donald Trump’s administration. We found that the executive action did not result in a meaningful increase in enforcement, and cases in which an individual was charged with “unlawfully engaging in the business of firearms” have remained steady. Overall, cases focusing on illegal dealing accounted for a tiny share of overall prosecutions — about 3 percent. According to our analysis, there were only 10 additional prosecutions filed by the Department of Justice for unlawfully selling firearms during the year Obama’s executive actions took effect. That’s an increase of about 6.5 percent — within the expected year-to-year fluctuation in prosecutions.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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