Zachary Fardon, the ousted U.S. Attorney in Chicago, says he prosecuted more gun cases last year than in any year since 2004. The office opened 105 weapons cases in the year that ended Sept. 30, up from 73 a year earlier and the highest annual total in at least two decades. Yet few cases involved traffickers, those at the top of the illegal gun-distribution chain, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. For more than 60 percent of the defendants, the most serious charge was illegally transporting or possessing firearms. For about 20 percent of them, it was using a gun in a drug deal. Even fewer were charged primarily with the more serious offenses of trafficking or selling guns.
The number of gun prosecutions by the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago continues to trail many other big cities grappling with violence and gangs. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Detroit pursued about twice the number of gun cases last year as those in Chicago. In St. Louis, they pursued nearly three times as many. The Trump administration’s first budget blueprint proposes a $175 million boost in Justice Department spending to “target the worst of the worst criminal organizations and drug traffickers” in Chicago and elsewhere. It doesn’t say how the money would be used.