In a January 29 story in the Deseret Morning News, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) opined that new Justice Department figures support the notion that the best way to fight gun-related violent crime is not to ban guns, but to prosecute criminals. Recently released Justice Department data show that, under the Bush Administration, as federal prosecution of gun crimes increased 68 percent from three years ago, violent crimes dropped by 21 percent.
Commenting on the findings, Senator Hatch said, "Our law enforcement`s tough-on-crime approach parallels what I have always advocated: protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and strictly enforce our gun laws." Senator Hatch went on to say that, "Because of the stepped-up prosecutions, there were approximately 130,000 fewer victims of gun crime and over 980,000 fewer violent crimes in 2001-02 than there were in 1999-2000. Enacting and vigorously enforcing stiff penalties for those who commit crimes with guns deters violent crime."
Hatch added, "This reduction in gun violence is a direct result of the nationwide implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods. In Utah alone last year, over 400 violent individuals were indicted under federal gun laws."