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Publication Federal Firearm Offenders 1992-98: With Preliminary Data for 1999

John Scalia

June 4, 2000    NCJ 180795

Describes trends associated with the prosecution of firearm offenders in U.S. district courts between 1992 and 1999. In addition, this report describes charge bargaining practices by U.S. attorneys; offenders charged with unlawfully receiving or transferring a firearm; sentences imposed for firearm offenses -- including statutory and sentencing guideline enhancements for firearms use; and the source of firearms used by Federal inmates during the offense for which they were imprisoned.


  • Between 1992 and 1996 the number of defendants charged with a firearm offense decreased 19%. It remained at this lower level through 1997 before increasing in 1998 and 1999.
  • The decrease in firearm prosecutions is partially attributable to a Supreme Court decision which limited prosecutors' ability to charge defendants with using a firearm during a violent or drug offense.
  • 41% of defendants charged with a firearm offense were prosecuted in the 20 most populous Federal judicial districts; these districts accounted for about half of all arrests nationwide by State and local agencies for violent and drug offenses.

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