Thursday, August 03, 2017

More Gun Prosecutions with AG Jeff Sessions: Good or Bad?

On March 8th, AG Jeff Sessions ordered all 94 federal prosecutors to prioritize violent crime, using the statutory tools at their disposal.  The first two offenses listed by the Attorney General were 18 U.S.C section 922 (firearms offenses including possession and straw purchasing) and 18 U.S.C. section 924(c) (possession of a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime or drug trafficking offense).

The United States Attorney's Offices were urged to identify and target the criminals responsible for violent crime in their districts, and to coordinate with the state and local counterparts. 

It appears to be having some results. As of the second quarter of 2017, gun prosecutions are up.  From
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that, following the memorandum from Attorney General Sessions to prioritize firearm prosecutions, the number of defendants charged with unlawful possession of a firearm increased nearly 23 percent in the second quarter of 2017 (2,637) from the same time period in 2016 (2,149).

This is an essential part of the strategy used in Project Exile and similar programs. The programs have had considerable success in high crime urban areas.  The second part of the strategy is build trust of the police in those areas.

The Trump campaign lauded Project Exile, and promised to expand the program.  The March order from AG Sessions is a step in that direction.

A key part of Project Exile and of AG Sessions order is to concentrate enforcement efforts on violent offenders. As Harvard academic David Kennedy has noted,  only a tiny number of people commit most murders. The people in the neighborhood know who the dangerous, violent people are. The approach that David Kennedy has promoted is the second half of Project Exile. Convince the people in the community that you are acting to remove the dangerous, violent offenders, and many in the community will cooperate with you.

 The Obama administration fraudulently implied that racist police officers were at fault in the Ferguson, Missouri and Trayvon Martin cases. They promoted measures that reduced police presence in high crime areas. When police worry about being persecuted for doing their job, they will do less. As a result, violent crime has risen. It is nationally known as the Ferguson effect.

The Obama Administration has done a great deal to de-legitimize the police in black neighborhoods. The damage done by the Ferguson effect will have to be reversed in order to bring the murder rate in those areas down.

Trust in the police and in the criminal justice system is easily lost, and difficult to build up. Targeting violent offenders in high crime neighborhoods can be effective. To do so the police have to follow the rules.  The gathering of minute statistics on racial quotas that the Obama administration pushed does not build trust in the system. Trust is built by engaging community members, explaining what the police are doing, and backing up the words with actions.

The time needed to build the trust in police and the criminal justice system is uncertain. Eight years of attacks by the Obama administration and the establishment media will take time to overcome.

Mere arrests under federal gun laws are not sufficient. The arrests have to be of violent offenders, as AG Sessions ordered.

If the arrests are simply to drive up statistics, the approach will not work. The arrests have to be targeted. It will be months before we know if the approach is having a positive effect.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As far as I am concerned that makes him king gun grabber. Prosecuting people for laws that have no constitutional validity. what words in those laws match the 26 words in the second amendment?. All you have to do to change my mind is show me the constitutional authority to violate Shall Not Be Infringed. Having a gun is not a crime what you do with that gun can be a crime that is what people should be charged with, the crimes they commit with a gun. If I want to sell my home or my car I do not need a license they are property that belongs to me, so are my guns. I do not need any ones permission to own a gun nor to sell a gun. Unconstitutional laws vary from state to state. the united states constitution requires in writing that all rights are exercised equally in all states from state to state. that makes all state gun law invalid. Congress had no constitutional authority to pass the 1934 NFA. If it did show it to me.