*This feature appears in the September ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
“In ordering the nation’s federal prosecutors to enforce tough existing laws to swiftly remove armed violent criminal predators from society, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ended the shameful eight-year legacy of the Barack Obama administration that was marked by its refusal to even recognize laws that could have saved countless lives.
Sessions summed up the new mission of federal prosecutors: “Our motto is going to be justice for victims and consequences for criminals.”
As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Sessions issued new priorities for all federal prosecutors declaring, “It is the policy of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reduce crime in America.”
With that simple redirection Sessions instructed the 94 U.S. Attorneys offices to partner with state and local law enforcement in order “to specifically identify the criminals responsible for significant violent crime in their districts. Once identified, the U.S. Attorneys offices must ensure that these drivers of violent crime are prosecuted, using the many tools at a prosecutor’s disposal.”
Amen to that!
Specifically, the attorney general has ordered federal prosecution of violent criminals using what he called “substantial tools at their disposal,” and headed his list with federal firearms laws—laws that the NRA has long demanded be enforced to put bad guys behind bars.
Fox News, in a piece headlined “Sessions ends Obama-era leniency on sentencing,” observed: “The move, which will send more criminals to jail and for longer terms by triggering mandatory minimum sentences, explicitly reverses policies set in motion by President Obama’s former Attorney General Eric Holder.”
Sessions’ bold policy mirrors the 1990’s highly successful Project Exile in Richmond, Va.—an NRA-supported accelerated enforcement effort that was so successful that criminals disarmed themselves rather than face sure federal prosecution.
If strictly carried out by the U.S. attorneys, Sessions’ agenda will have the clear effect of bringing peace to some of America’s meanest streets.
And there are no meaner streets than in Chicago, a city run by a corrupt political machine that has disarmed its citizens and never demanded application of the sure and swift federal prosecution for armed thugs who laugh at that city’s catch-and-release justice system.
As every NRA member knows, under existing federal statutes, it is a federal felony punishable by a five-year mandatory prison sentence for convicted felons, drug dealers and gang members to possess any firearm. There is no aspect of criminals and firearms that is not covered by federal law. But Chicago opted out of prosecutions.
During the lawless Obama era, the city of Chicago consistently ranked at the bottom of federal court jurisdictions for gun-related prosecutions.
That will change.
The carnage in Chicago has become routine. The statistics are horrifying, but the stories of human suffering are truly tragic because many deaths and maimings by armed criminals could have been prevented by swift and certain application of federal law.
Virtually every news item covering the endless Chicago murders and shootings described those arrested as having long criminal histories including offenses involving firearms—all of which are covered by strict federal mandatory penalties, but most are never even investigated.
In his effort to liberate Chicago citizens from the daily terror of violence, Sessions established a Crime Gun Strike Force, “focused on the most violent offenders, in the areas of the city with the highest concentration of firearm violence.”