|(24 Mar 2023)
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during January 2023 the government reported 992 new federal weapons convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up from 731 convictions the previous month. And if the current pace continues for the rest of this fiscal year, convictions for weapons offenses would reach just under 9,000.
Convictions for federal weapons violations have undergone substantial change over the last four decades. Starting from a low of around 3,000 in FY 1998, they climbed to a high in FY 2005 of 9,200 before falling to a new low of just 6,000 a decade later in FY 2015. Since then, federal convictions have generally climbed.
During the Trump administration, convictions reached 8,697 in FY 2019, then climbed even further under President Biden. Convictions reached an all-time high last year (FY 2022) when they reached 9,559. This was the largest number in any single year since recording began. So far during the Biden administration conviction levels have averaged about 15 percent higher than those during the Trump administration.
Generally federal weapons prosecutions and convictions are not concentrated in districts with the largest urban centers. Quite the opposite. Justice Department's case-by-case records show that New York South where Manhattan is located ranked 80th out of the 90 federal districts covering the 50 states. Los Angeles (California Central) ranked 83rd, Brooklyn (New York East) ranked 85th, Massachusetts ranked 86th, and California North where San Francisco is located ranked 87th. Two federal district judges in Western Tennessee were among those recently sentencing the most defendants for federal weapons violations compared with any other federal district court judge across the country.
The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for weapons-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys after a successful lawsuit ordering release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
For additional details including information on the number of weapons prosecutions in each of the 90 federal judicial districts in the U.S. read the full report at:
In addition to these most recent overall figures, TRAC continues to offer free monthly reports on selected government agencies such as the FBI, ATF, DHS and the IRS. TRAC's reports also monitor program categories such as official corruption, drugs, environment, civil rights, immigration, white collar crime and terrorism. For the latest information on prosecutions and convictions through January 2023, go to:
Even more detailed criminal enforcement information for the period from FY 1986 through January 2023 is available to TRACFed subscribers via the Express, Going Deeper, and Analyzer tools. Go to https://tracfed.syr.edu/ for more information. Customized reports for a specific agency, district, program, lead charge or judge are available via the TRAC Data Interpreter, either as part of a TRACFed subscription or on a per-report basis. Go to https://trac.syr.edu/interpreter to start.
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