While lawmakers on Capitol Hill discuss tougher gun control legislation, some U.S. cities dealing with gun violence aren't enforcing current laws.
The Washington Examiner reported that although many police departments had reported high numbers of illegal firearms taken off the streets, gun-related arrests, prosecutions, and convictions in some of those cities were down as liberal law enforcement policies contribute to a rise in crime.
Homicides last year marked a 44% greater increase compared to those in 2019, according to the Council on Criminal Justice.
An increase in gun violence had come as relatively few guns historically have been purchased in ways Congress wants to regulate with its latest gun control push.
In 2019, the Justice Department published a study that found that only 7% of federal prisoners in possession of a firearm at the time of their crimes had purchased the gun from a licensed firearm dealer.
Many of the guns involved either were stolen or bought on the black market, the Examiner said.
Then there's the lack of prosecutions in some cities.
Washington, D.C., police confiscated about 2,400 illegal guns in 2021, according to The Washington Post. However, prosecutors in many cases declined to press charges despite shootings and murders having increased in the city.
There's also the issue of gun-related trials not resulting in convictions.
Philadelphia police early last year had arrested an average of nine people per day for illegal firearm possession. However, gun convictions fell dramatically under the city's progressive district attorney, Larry Krasner, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Put plainly, people accused of carrying illegal guns in recent years have had better than a coin flip's chance of beating their case in court," the Inquirer reported.
In some cities, strained police resources were making it difficult to contain rising gun-related crimes.
During the first eight months of 2021, Portland, Oregon, had seen 840 shootings. The Portland Police Bureau, though, had filed gun violence charges in 285 cases.
The challenge of convicting people accused of gun violence also was a federal issue.
U.S. attorney's offices around the country last year filed federal charges for a firearm offense against 15,525 defendants, according to DOJ, but just 9,971 were found guilty of a violation.
The Examiner reported that local programs meant to address inequality also can worsen the chance of gun violence.
Mayors in King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, objected to a youth diversion program that allowed a community panel, not a criminal court, to decide how some first-time offenders should be treated.
In December, one mayor complained that offenders responsible for bringing six guns into his town's high schools were able to escape traditional punishment through the program, the Examiner reported.
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