Weapons Convictions for March 2024

Number Latest Month 865
Percent Change from previous month 11.0
Percent Change from 1 year ago -2.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
14.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
14.5
Table 1. Criminal Weapons Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2024 the government reported 865 new weapons convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 11 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 2024 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was down (-2.3%). 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 14.3 percent from levels reported in 2019.


Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Weapons Convictions

The increase 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 March 2024 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 100 percent of convictions. See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for weapons convictions in March 2024 was ATF accounting for 61 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of weapons convictions were: FBI (14% ), Local (12%), 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 March 2024, no defendants in weapons cases for these matters were convicted 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 March 2024, 865 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March 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 March.

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 March 2024.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 703 1 1 1 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 28 3 2 4 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 24 4 3 3 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 18 5 3 2 More
26 USC 5861 - Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts 12 6 6 6 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 9 7 9 11 More
18 USC 2119 - Carjacking 7 8 10 9 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 7 8 7 7 More
18 USC 1962 - RICO - prohibited activities 5 10 13 13 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 "Other US Code Section" under Title U.S.C Section. "Other US Code Section" under Title U.S.C Section was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Hobbs Act" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951. "Hobbs Act" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 was ranked 2 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 180 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1962 that involves " RICO - prohibited activities ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 309.1 percent — was registered for convictions under " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 30.2 percent — was " Attempt and conspiracy " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions — 40.8 percent — was for convictions where the lead charge was " Firearms; Penalties " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 924 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In March 2024 the Justice Department's case-by-case records show that the government obtained 311.4 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  
Mo, E 3,295 80 1 1 1 More
D. C. 2,501 14 2 77 44 More
Ala, S 1,807 13 3 36 14 More
Wyoming 1,445 7 4 79 76 More
Mo, W 1,103 30 5 4 7 More
Iowa, N 1,081 12 6 25 21 More
Tenn, W 1,003 13 7 10 8 More
Ala, N 954 24 8 27 12 More
Ga, M 812 14 9 67 66 More
Ken, E 807 15 10 51 59 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) — with 3295 convictions as compared with 311.4 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during March 2024. The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The District of Washington, D.C. (Washington) ranked 2nd.

  • Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids), now ranked 6th , and Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham) at 8th In the same order, these districts ranked 25th and 27th one year ago and 21st and 12th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of weapons convictions compared to one year ago — 156.3 percent — was Washington, D.C. (Washington). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 130 percent — was Middle District of Georgia (Macon).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of weapons convictions — 62.3 percent — was Western District of Tennessee (Memphis).  This was the same district that had the largest increase — 59.6 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 March 2024 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Counts, Walter David, III Texas, W 20 1 1 15 More
Fleissig, Audrey Goldstein Mo, E 11 2 6 7 More
Burke, Liles Clifton Ala, N 9 3 107 - More
White, Ronnie Lee Mo, E 9 3 8 2 More
Ross, John Andrew Mo, E 8 5 5 4 More
Bough, Stephen Rogers Mo, W 8 5 22 54 More
Axon, Annemarie Carney Ala, N 7 7 287 527 More
Sippel, Rodney W. Mo, E 7 7 14 13 More
Moody, James Maxwell, Jr. Ark, E 6 9 27 262 More
Wier, Robert Earl Ken, E 6 9 350 262 More
Flanagan, Louise W. N Car, E 6 9 3 20 More
Anderson, Stanley Thomas Tenn, W 6 9 50 117 More
O'Connor, Reed Charles Texas, N 6 9 6 220 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 9 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 4 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 13 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Walter David Counts, III in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 20 convicted in weapons convictions. Judge Counts also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 1).

  • Judge Audrey Goldstein Fleissig in the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked 2nd with 11 convicted in weapons convictions. Judge Fleissig appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 6) and five years ago (rank 7).

  • Judges Liles Clifton Burke in the Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham) and Ronnie Lee White in the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked 3rd with 9 convicted in weapons convictions. Judge White appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 8) and five years ago (rank 2).

Report Generated: May 10, 2024
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