Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he plans to “increase prosecutions of gun-law violations” and wants criminals to pay a hefty price for partaking in gun crimes. This came on Monday as Sessions directed the Department of Justice, and also conveyed that the DOJ should take a tougher position against “violent crime” overall.
Sessions said there is a lack of federal support and leadership, and that he and other state and local persons are gravely concerned about this. Sessions reflected on “a 1990s-era effort that sought harsh sentences for felons caught with firearms as a way to reduce violent crime through increased gun prosecutions.”
“If they know they will get popped, they go into federal court and get five years. … It does have an intimidating effect, and we’ve lost a little bit of that,” he concluded.
Sessions told reporters at the Justice Department that his only judgement is “this is not a blip and we’re seeing.”
“I’m afraid, a longer term trend of violent crime going up, which is not what we want in America,” Sessions told reporters.
Sessions’ stance is different than what the U.S. saw in the Obama administration where efforts were made to reduce sentences for low-level nonviolent drug offenders.
In January, Chicago Police Board Chairwoman Lori Lightfoot said there is an absence of prosecutions in Chicago and said the city needed help.
“We need to have more federal gun prosecutions in Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “Our federal partners from the U.S. attorney’s office, the ATF, the FBI need to be much more invested in this overall strategy. Chicago Police Department cannot tackle this issue by itself.”