Last year, two Baltimore police officers arrested a man for possessing a sawed-off shotgun. The case was referred to federal court, where a plea agreement was arranged that sent him to jail for 63 months, reports the Baltimore Sun. The case is one of thousands federal authorities have used to bolster statistics in what critics allege is an effort to blur results and show a successful campaign to reduce gun violence. After three years, $1 billion, and a major shift in the way this country deals with gun crime, another bleaker set of numbers tells a different story.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it opened 29,000 firearm cases last year, including the Baltimore case because the gun had crossed state lines. By focusing on largely local gun possession cases, federal prosecutors and agents are less likely to investigate and prosecute federal gun offenses that target corrupt dealers and traffickers. Law enforcement officials say the results are everywhere: Criminals are more easily obtaining guns, and America’s cities and towns are awash in firearms. “The gun problem in this city seems to me to be completely unchecked,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark.