Drop in Federal Gun Prosecutions Started in Bush Administration


Gun rights groups have singled out President Obama for failing to prosecute gun crimes, but the drop in cases filed began a decade ago under the Bush administration, reports the Washington Times. Analysts said the decade-long drop underscores the key ingredient in gun prosecutions – a willingness to make them a priority. Prosecutions dipped at the beginning of the Clinton administration but by 1998 had begun to rise again, tripling between by 2004, when the federal government filed more than 11,000 cases. Since then, prosecutions have steadily fallen again, going below 8,000 prosecutions a year in the last three years. Looking at trends over the last quarter century, there were two annual peaks in gun prosecutions, both under Republican presidents, in 1992 and 2004. Although prosecutions have dropped in recent years, the yearly number of gun cases is still much higher now than in the pre-9/11 era, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. David Chipman, a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said, “You can't just prosecute 20,000 cases in one year – there just isn't that infrastructure,” he said. “Any kind of looking at the numbers and drawing some sort of conclusion that people are doing more or less – you've got to get beyond that. Because you could be comparing apples and oranges.”

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