Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday to “increase prosecutions of gun-law violations” so that suspects know they will pay a price for using guns in crime.
He also redirected the DOJ to take a harder stance against “violent crime” in general.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Sessions said “state and local people” with whom he has spoken have already expressed concern “about a lack of federal support and leadership.”
Sessions spoke of his support for “a 1990s-era effort that sought harsh sentences for felons caught with firearms as a way to reduce violent crime through increased gun prosecutions.” He said of offenders who use guns, “If they know they will get popped, they go into federal court and get five years. … It does have an intimidating effect, and we’ve lost a little bit of that.”
WSJ noted that Sessions’ posture toward harsh penalties and increased prosecution “represents something of a shift from Obama administration efforts to reduce sentences for low-level nonviolent drug offenders.” But it also seems to be exactly what leaders in some cities, such as Chicago, are seeking.
On January 8, Breitbart News reported that Chicago Police Board Chairwoman Lori Lightfoot pointed to a dearth of prosecutions in Chicago and said the city needed help.
NPR quoted Lightfoot as saying, “We need to have more federal gun prosecutions in Chicago. Our federal partners from the U.S. attorney’s office, the ATF, the FBI need to be much more invested in this overall strategy. Chicago Police Department cannot tackle this issue by itself.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.