|(29 Nov 2017)
The latest case-by-case records from the Justice Department covering all of FY 2017 indicate that federal criminal prosecutions for weapons offenses grew by 10.8 percent over the levels seen during FY 2016.
This is the third year in a row to see an increase in federal weapons prosecutions. Prosecutions during FY 2016 had risen a comparable rate - with 11.5 percent more than in FY 2015.
This follows the March 8, 2017 memorandum that Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent Department of Justice prosecutors directing them to "partner with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for significant violent crime in their districts" and singled out statutes penalizing firearms offenses as among the "substantial tools at their disposal."
The recent growth in federal criminal prosecutions for weapons offenses marks a return to the levels of weapons prosecutions last seen ten years ago in FY 2007, but it is still far below the peak level of federal weapons prosecutions reached in 2004.
However, it is important to keep in mind that most gun prosecutions occur at the state and local level, and federal prosecutions are almost certainly dwarfed by anything that is done by state and local government.
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