(DE) Anti-gun message to expand


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Drizzt
January 2, 2003, 12:08 AM
Anti-gun message to expand
Operation Disarm enters new phase

By STEVEN CHURCH
Staff reporter
12/30/2002

After more than a year of increasing federal gun prosecutions, an anti-gun violence program will move into a new phase in 2003 with a public-relations campaign aimed at convincing probationers, ex-convicts and teenagers to avoid guns.

Under Operation Disarm, 48 people have either pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury of gun violations, according to statistics prepared by the office of the U.S. Attorney in Wilmington. There are 24 cases still pending in federal court.

Since the program began in September 2001, more than three times as many gun cases have been indicted in federal court than in the two years leading up to Operation Disarm. Federal prosecutors filed 22 gun cases in Delaware from October 1999 through September 2001, according to federal statistics.

Prosecutors will continue to indict gun crimes, U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly said, but in addition, federal officials have set up a nonprofit group that will use a $175,000 grant to try to persuade criminals and young people to avoid guns.

The goal of the extra prosecutions and the community outreach is to cut the number of crimes committed with a gun, Connolly said.

By putting people in prison for illegally possessing guns and for illegally attempting to buy guns, officials hope to convince criminals to get rid of their weapons. Reducing the number of guns in the hands of people who may use them in crimes will reduce the violent-crime rate, officials say.

No statistics are available yet to measure the program's success in reducing gun-related crime, but Connolly said some indicators are hopeful.

For example, the number of people with felony convictions in Delaware who tried to buy a gun here fell to two, from at least 12 last year, according to Connolly's statistics.

"I think that illustrates that there has been an impact," he said. "As the support foundation starts to communicate to the public the results that we have had [prosecuting gun violations], you will see a further impact."

Operation Disarm is similar to measures started by federal prosecutors elsewhere, including Maryland and Philadelphia.

Connolly and Delaware Attorney General Jane Brady said their offices are working on the program together.

Federal and state prosecutors regularly review every criminal case brought to them by local, state and federal law-enforcement officers to decide which court system the defendants should be prosecuted in.

"Whenever there is a gun arrest, we all sit down and decide who can get the better sentence," Brady said.

http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2002/12/30antigunmessaget.html

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PATH
January 2, 2003, 01:02 AM
Why is it that I am not surprised. :cuss:

El Tejon
January 2, 2003, 07:52 AM
PATH, but aren't they just enforcing current laws that the NRA wants?

Wow, 22 whole prosecutions over 2 years by the USA. Smaller district and all, but doesn't that seem really low with an Operation going on? At least the USA is listening to local LE. I remember when trying to call the USA was like getting an audience with the Pope.:fire:

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