Gun crime prosecutions on decline, amid call for more laws - New York News

Gun crime prosecutions on decline, amid call for more laws

Posted: Updated:
  • Gun Control Across AmericaMore>>

  • Study: Murder rate drops as concealed carry rises

    Study: Murder rate drops as concealed carry rises

    A dramatic spike in the number of Americans with permits to carry concealed weapons coincides with an equally stark drop in violent crime, according to a new study, which Second Amendment advocates say makes the case that more guns can mean safer streets.
    A dramatic spike in the number of Americans with permits to carry concealed weapons coincides with an equally stark drop in violent crime, according to a new study, which Second Amendment advocates say makes the case that more guns can mean safer streets.
  • Target asks customers to leave firearms at home

    Target asks customers to leave firearms at home

    Target is "respectfully" asking its customers to not bring firearms into its stores, even where it is allowed by law. In a statement, interim CEO John Mulligan said Target wants a "safe and inviting" atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.
    Target is "respectfully" asking its customers to not bring firearms into its stores, even where it is allowed by law. In a statement, interim CEO John Mulligan said Target wants a "safe and inviting" atmosphere for its shoppers and employees.
  • NRA calls 'open carry' rallies 'downright weird'

    NRA calls 'open carry' rallies 'downright weird'

    Companies, customers and others critical of gun rights advocates who have brought military-style assault rifles into businesses as part of demonstrations supporting "open carry" gun rights now have a surprising ally: the National Rifle Association.
    Companies, customers and others critical of gun rights advocates who have brought military-style assault rifles into businesses as part of demonstrations supporting "open carry" gun rights now have a surprising ally: the National Rifle Association.

In radio and billboard ads across the country, the federal government is telling potential gun buyers "don't lie for the other guy." The campaign message is intended to stop those with clean criminal records from buying firearms for felons who legally can't buy guns on their own. 

The message underscores the full-court press in Washington to adopt sweeping new gun control laws, from universal background checks to a ban on military-style rifles and large ammunition magazines. 

However, recent studies show the Obama administration has not enforced many gun laws already on books -- with gun crime prosecutions hitting a decade low in 2011, down 40 percent from their peak under President George W. Bush in 2004, according to federal data crunched by Syracuse University. The SU study prompted 23 House Republicans on Friday to call on President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute more people for gun-related crimes. 

"It is imprudent to simply call for new laws without examining the efficacy of the current laws," wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. "We must all be looking for ways to prevent senseless acts of violence and the taking of innocent life, but the best place to start would be enforcing the laws that Congress has already enacted." 

The Syracuse study found the number of federal weapons prosecutions fell from about 11,000 in 2004 to about 6,000 under the Obama administration in 2011 -- and ticked up to 7,770 in 2012. 

The GOP letter also cited data from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), which found in 2010, of 6 million Americans who applied to buy a gun, less than 2 percent -- or 76,000 -- were denied. Of those, the ATF referred 4,732 cases for prosecution. Of them, just 44 were prosecuted, and only 13 were punished for lying or buying a gun illegally. 

"If the prosecution of people lying on forms is really a priority for the president, then all he has to do is say, 'I want my federal law enforcement officials to prosecute these kinds of cases,'" former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Fox News. "Obviously there is a different level of priority given to these type of crimes in this administration compared with other administrations." 

Justice Department sources argue the attorney general has finite resources. DOJ prefers to prosecute prohibited persons who actually obtain guns illegally, who've gotten around the background check system, rather than just those who just lie on the form, which is also a crime. 

A source also said so-called "lie and try" cases have little jury appeal. They are essentially about lying on a form where the person was ultimately denied the ability to purchase the gun. Juries, in these cases, have a tendency to question whether any harm was done, because the individual did not get the gun. 

Prosecutions for making a false statement when buying a gun are down 29 percent from five years ago, while prosecutions for illegal possession are down 14 percent, according to federal data. Penalties are also light. Data compiled by the U.S. attorney's office shows a third of those charged with gun crimes serve no jail at all, and those who do typically only serve one to four years of a possible 10-year sentence for lying or illegally possessing a firearm. 

"I think when we punish the bad guys we are protecting the good guys," said Republican Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia. "That is the essence of this bill. When four out of 10 straw buyers suffer no meaningful consequences for what they did, we have a problem." 

Rigell is one of four lawmakers proposing a bill to make straw purchases a federal crime. The bill would also increase the penalty from 10 to 20 years.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Mayor: NYC will learn from 2004 RNC 'mistakes'

    Mayor: NYC will learn from 2004 RNC 'mistakes'

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:35 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:35:46 GMT
    Brooklyn's final pitch to hold the 2016 Democratic national convention was centered on New York City's robust mass transit system -- and a pledge to learn "from the mistakes" from the last time the city hosted a presidential convention. The Republicans gathered in New York in 2004 to re-nominate President George W. Bush, choosing to meet in deep-blue Manhattan less than three years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
    Brooklyn's final pitch to hold the 2016 Democratic national convention was centered on New York City's robust mass transit system -- and a pledge to learn "from the mistakes" from the last time the city hosted a presidential convention. The Republicans gathered in New York in 2004 to re-nominate President George W. Bush, choosing to meet in deep-blue Manhattan less than three years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
  • Union says city too dangerous to host convention

    Union says city too dangerous to host convention

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:32 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:32:12 GMT
    One of New York City's police unions says it is opposed to the city's bid for Brooklyn to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, saying that crime is on the rise and criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio's public safety policies.The Sergeants Benevolent Association, which has 13,000 members, says the city was "lurching backwards to the bad old days of high crime."
    One of New York City's police unions says it is opposed to the city's bid for Brooklyn to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, saying that crime is on the rise and criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio's public safety policies.The Sergeants Benevolent Association, which has 13,000 members, says the city was "lurching backwards to the bad old days of high crime."
  • NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:12:52 GMT
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi, authorities said Tuesday. Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, died Monday shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff's officials said.
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi, authorities said Tuesday. Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, died Monday shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff's officials said.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices