Federal weapons prosecutions continue to climb in 2019

Lee’s note: This just in from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. I’ve used TRAC data in the past. Each month they offer a report focused on one area of criminal litigation in the U.S. district courts. They’re reliable and nonpartisan.

Federal Weapons Prosecutions Continue to Climb in 2019

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first seven months of FY 2019 the government reported 6,526 new weapons prosecutions.

This marks the fifth straight year that weapons prosecutions have been rising – up 68.7 percent since FY 2014.

If prosecutions continue at the same pace for the rest of the fiscal year, prosecution numbers should match their previous peak level attained during FY 2004, fifteen years ago.

According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, two out of every three prosecutions were for the offense of unlawful shipment, transfer, receipt, or possession of a firearm by a felon.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) was the lead investigative agency for 63.5 percent of prosecutions referred. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was second with 13.2 percent, followed by referrals from state and local authorities with 8.9 percent.

The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked first with the most weapons prosecutions filed (403) and a rate relative to its population size of almost seven times the national average. It was also ranked most active (relative to its population) during FY 2018 as well.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with weapons-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained after successful litigation by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act.

To read the full report, click here.

Prosecutions by Investigative Agency


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Manuel E Gutierrez on

    It is known that The Federales always will try and maintain the ‘ Monopoly ‘ of violence in The Society regardless of your political affiliation. The Fed is the glue that maintains the concept of a National State. And so let’s be careful when we cross the line from Local State to the keepers of The Nation. There, those are my two cents on the matter.

  2. Pingback: “Federal weapons prosecutions continue to climb in 2019 ” and other interesting tidbits

  3. Coffee Addict on

    That picture is from the raid on Dimitri Karras’ Ares Armor location in National City back in the day. all over customer lists and unfinished 80% polymer lowers that the ATF insisted were ‘firearms’. there’s a lot more to that story worth reading.

    ATF later returned the lowers (minus a dozen that went ‘missing’) which lead to the question : if they were firearms, then the ATF lost firearms while in possession of the lowers, so..? If they weren’t firearms, then they raided the store for absolutely no reason.
    the ensuing shit show was a thing to see.

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