Trump Administration Signals Intent to Enforce Existing Gun Laws

at President, NRA posted on February 3, 2017
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This feature appears in the February ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.  

he Obama administration’s refusal to enforce federal laws covering armed predators is over. President Donald J. Trump’s administration will move swiftly to begin taking the most-dangerous armed criminals off the streets using tough, existing federal law.

As we have been saying for decades, there is no act involving criminal possession and use of firearms that is not already illegal under existing federal statutes that apply in every corner of the nation.

Wayne LaPierre summed it up very succinctly:  “You can’t make what criminals do with guns any more illegal than it already is. Gun control in any and every form is designed solely to criminalize what good people do with firearms.”

Early in his campaign for the White House, Trump embraced Project Exile, the remarkably successful enforcement effort by the U.S. attorney in Richmond, Va., in the mid-1990s. That effort resulted in a stunning, massive drop in armed violent crime for a city that previously ranked as the murder capital of the nation.

Coupled with an extensive local advertising campaign promising swift and sure federal prosecution for armed thugs, Project Exile resulted in criminals actually disarming themselves to avoid mandatory prison sentences when caught with a gun.

To gun-banners everywhere, especially in the media, that successful program simply didn’t exist. Instead, the notion of punishing the innocent while refusing to hold criminals accountable for violence remains the core principle that drives the gun-ban movement.

You will never hear the likes of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel demand enforcement of federal law to rid his mean streets of armed criminals. It simply doesn’t serve his gun-ban agenda, which is touted as a cure-all for the soaring number of homicides that could have been prevented.

Punishing the innocent while giving a pass to the guilty is the hallmark of gun-banners everywhere, but nowhere is that practice more evident than in our nation’s capital.

For decades, unchecked armed violence in Washington, D.C., has been fed by an ill-conceived and judicially abused 1985 law—the Youth Rehabilitation Act.

Remarkably, the whole terrifying nightmare that has been wrought under this Alice-in-Wonderland law has been documented in a series of recent investigative reports in The Washington Post.

The opening paragraph tells the story:

“Hundreds of criminals sentenced by D.C. judges under an obscure local law crafted to give second chances to young adult offenders have gone on to rob, rape or kill residents of the nation’s capital.”

The Youth Rehabilitation Act was sold by local politicians and media boosters as a means to give first-time offenders under the age of 22 a second chance at a crime-free life. Combined with light or no sentencing for serious crimes, the law also expunged conviction records.

The reporter wrote that “a Washington Post investigation has found a pattern of violent offenders returning rapidly to the streets and committing more crimes. Hundreds have been sentenced under the act multiple times.”

The Post reported that since 2010, 121 Youth Act defendants “have gone on to be charged with murder.”  Thirty of the murders were committed by Youth Act criminals on probation.

Further, among the Post’s findings: 

“At least 750 offenders have been sentenced multiple times under the Youth Act in the past decade. More than 200 of those were sentenced for multiple violent or weapons offenses.”

Under the Youth Act, these violent criminals skated.

Then there is this:  “In at least 30 homicide cases, defendants had received Youth Act sentences more than once before—turning a second chance into a third or even fourth opportunity to return to the community.”

All this in a city that for years denied its peaceable citizens the right to armed defense in the home, and even today continues to balk at court orders to carry out the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision that declared the D.C. handgun ban unconstitutional.

The good news is that under the D.C. hybrid system, in which local laws are prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office, orders from the top can trump (pun intended) the corrupt lower court system. Offenders that have been freed to graduate from armed robbery and assault to murder can be prosecuted straightaway in U.S. District Court using federal mandatory penalties for gun possession and gun use.

Accelerated federal enforcement against armed criminals in cities like D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and New York will doubtless result in much safer neighborhoods. Virtually every community plagued with armed criminal violence will benefit.

When that happens, gun control lies from the likes of billionaire gun-banner Michael Bloomberg will have no traction with the non-gun-owning public.

Working together to support the Trump administration and Project Exile, we can indeed make America safer.


Charles L. Cotton
Charles L. Cotton

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