(STL.News) – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, today announced the results of his office’s emphasis on prosecuting violent crimes involving firearms. The U.S. Department of Justice announced that nationwide, more than 14,200 defendants have been charged with firearms-related crimes during Fiscal Year 2020. In the Western District of Wisconsin, 56 defendants have been charged.
According to U.S. Attorney Blader, the number of gun crimes prosecuted by his office has risen by over 100% between 2017 and 2019. The types of gun crimes subject to federal prosecution include felons in possession of firearms or ammunition; business and bank robberies while armed; drug distribution while armed; false statements made to federal firearms licensees; those previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; those subject to domestic protection orders; and those prohibited from possessing a firearm such as illegal aliens, users of illegal drugs, and those with a prior mental health adjudication.
“The number one priority of government is to keep its citizens safe,” said Attorney General William Barr. “By preventing firearms from falling into the hands of individuals who are prohibited from having them, we can stop violent crime before it happens. Violating federal firearms laws is a serious crime and offenders face serious consequences. The Department of Justice is committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who illegally buy, sell, use, or possess firearms. Reducing gun violence requires a coordinated effort, and we could not have charged more than 14,000 individuals with firearms-related crimes without the hard work of the dedicated law enforcement professionals at the ATF, our U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country, and especially all of our state and local law enforcement partners.”
“Those who commit crimes with firearms undermine the safety and security of Wisconsin communities,” said U.S. Attorney Blader. “My office is committed to working with federal, state and local investigators, in cooperation with Wisconsin’s District Attorneys, to target offenders who use guns in crimes, felons who illegally possess firearms, and those who attempt to buy guns illegally.”
In addition to investigations by federal law enforcement agents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office works closely with local and state law enforcement and prosecutors to identify the cases most appropriate for federal prosecution. Often felons in possession or firearms or ammunition come to light during a local investigation for domestic violence, drug distribution or use, battery, disorderly conduct, and other violations of state law.