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More Gun Control, While Prosecutions Plunge

Thursday, January 27, 2000

Amid the Clinton-Gore-Reno Administration`s calls for more and more gun control laws, the evidence continues to mount that it failed miserably to enforce existing law, dismissing violent gun crimes as unworthy of its time and effort.

* 44% DROP IN FEDERAL REFERRALS: BATF referrals for prosecution of federal law violations declined nearly by half during the first six years of the Clinton-Gore-Reno Administration. BATF cases sent to federal prosecutors declined by 44% from 1992 to 1998, a drop from 9,885 to 5,510.

* 46.5% DROP IN FIREARMS CASES SENT TO FEDERAL/STATE/LOCAL PROSECUTORS: BATF federal firearms law violations cases sent to federal, state and local prosecutors declined 46.5% between 1992 to 1998, a drop from 12,084 to 6,470.

* THE "PROJECT EXILE" DIFFERENCE: With "Project Exile" in Richmond providing the momentum, in 1998, BATF-referred prosecutions in the state of Virginia led to 242 gun criminals being exiled to prison. Unbelievably, more armed criminals were sent to prison in Virginia in 1998 than in the far more populous states of California (70) and New York (140) and New Jersey (14) combined. The District of Columbia, which has effectively disarmed its law-abiding residents and has a violent crime rate about six times higher than Virginia, sent exactly two gun criminals to prison for breaking federal gun laws in 1998.

* "KINGPIN" COPOUT: BATF says the dramatic declines in their enforcement actions are related to improved targeting, but more focused prosecutions of gun-trafficking "kingpins" have not resulted in longer prison sentences, as would be expected.

* DROP IN SENTENCE LENGTH: During the Clinton-Gore-Reno years, the peak BATF sentence—a median of 57 months — came in 1996. In 1997, the median dropped to 48 months, and in 1998, to 46 months.

* TARGETING GUN MAKERS, NOT ARMED CRIMINALS: Ironically, BATF`s 1998 gun crime referrals for prosecution were the lowest in many of the cities that are now bringing "junk lawsuits" against gun manufacturers for the medical and law enforcement costs of gun crime. San Francisco ranked last in federal gun crime prosecution referrals, followed by Sacramento (89th), Los Angeles (87th), Chicago (86th), Bridgeport, Conn. (85th) and Newark/Camden, N.J. (84th).

(Source: Analysis of law enforcement data by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University)
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