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Under Jeff Sessions, Gun Prosecutions Rise

Under Jeff Sessions, Gun Prosecutions Rise

Photo credit: Photo credit: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Gun owners can take note that federal weapons prosecutions are rising under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University report 8,235 weapons prosecutions in fiscal year 2017, an 11 percent increase from 7,488 prosecutions in 2016.

Part of the increase is attributed to the committed effort by Sessions under President Donald Trump to enforce firearm laws already in existence, as stated in a memo that appeared in March of 2017 after Sessions was appointed to his position. The memo highlighted the need for prosecutors to enforce the laws as part of a new directive to use any and all tools at their disposal to charge criminals.

There was also a 23 percent increase in the number of defendants charged with unlawful possession of a firearm—more than 2,600, compared to the same period in 2016—in the three months after the memo was written, according to the Justice Department. Common charges for violations within the law include prohibiting felons from having a firearm, an enhancement of penalties using a gun during a crime, and the illegal possession of guns by illegal immigrants.