Low-Level Gun Convictions Jump Under Sessions’ Enforcement Directive

Federal prosecutors have been pushing to enforce low-level gun-possession cases at the urging of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “punish offenders as harshly and as quickly as possible” to stem U.S. gun violence, The New York Times reports. In the first three months following Sessions’ 2017 directive, the number of gun-possession cases jumped nearly 25 percent, along with a 15 percent increase in federal gun prosecutions in the first nine months of 2017. Law-enforcement officials told the Times that “one man, one gun cases” have traditionally been left to state and local prosecutors so that the Justice Department could “focus on broader investigations of interstate gun trafficking and criminal networks.” Some are concerned that a focus on the number of convictions they rack up may trump their directive to make an “impact on crime.” Gun offenders are the second-biggest population in federal prisons, with drug offenders being the first.