This Appendix sets forth brief summaries of each of the 93 locally-based firearms violence reduction strategies that were developed and are being implemented in each federal judicial district as part of the Integrated National Firearms Violence Reduction Strategy (the National Strategy). The evolving strategies were created by the local U.S. Attorney's Offices and the Field Division Offices of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), in close collaboration with other federal law enforcement agencies, state and local law enforcement authorities, state and local prosecutors, elected leaders, and various other community stakeholders, including representatives of private businesses, researchers, educators, social services providers, community organizations, and members of the faith community. These district gun violence reduction plans contain both proven methods and promising new programs to reduce firearms crime and violence in particular communities.

        In developing the local strategies, each jurisdiction assessed the nature and scope of its own gun violence problem; examined the legal tools available in the jurisdiction to address firearms violence, including federal and state firearms laws and sentencing provisions; reviewed and strengthened existing law enforcement efforts and other local prevention and intervention initiatives to combat gun violence; and developed additional strategies that responded to its particular gun violence problems.

        Because each local strategy was created by and for a unique community, each strategy is individualized to the needs and circumstances of that community. In each federal district, however, the strategy includes vigorous investigation and prosecution of persons who misuse firearms in committing violent crimes and illegal traffickers of firearms. Many of the strategies use relatively new informational techniques, such as crime gun tracing and analysis and violent crime mapping, to identify and apprehend violent offenders and gun traffickers, and many use innovative enforcement methods, such as the "pulling levers" approach, to break the cycle of gun violence. Each strategy provides for regular coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement to ensure a comprehensive and aggressive attack on gun violence.


In early 1999, the Northern District of Alabama established "Project Isolating the Criminal Element" ("Project I.C.E.") to address the high level of gun homicides in the City of Birmingham. Project I.C.E. includes vigorous prosecution of substantially all federal firearms violations, identified through a partnership with the Birmingham Police Department, ATF and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office. Project I.C.E. also provides for intensive training of local law enforcement officers on federal and state firearms laws and procedures. A community outreach component of Project I.C.E. has included television, radio and billboard advertisements, as well as bumper stickers and yard signs. See Figure 7 of the National Strategy. Project I.C.E. will expand to cover the entire district, with an appropriate balance between federal and state prosecutions. A coordinated referral mechanism, including a designated prosecutor in the local District Attorney's Office who will participate in the referrals, and may be appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to try cases in federal court, will be critical to this expansion. The cities of Birmingham, Gadsden, Huntsville, Talladega, and Tuscaloosa within the Northern District of Alabama have entered into agreements with the ATF to enforce a comprehensive crime gun tracing program under ATF's Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII). Project I.C.E. is complemented by Operation Safe Home, a cooperative federal, state and local initiative which targets violent crime in public housing complexes.


The firearms violence reduction strategy in the Middle District of Alabama is based on cooperation and communication among all members of the community, as well as traditional enforcement and prosecution efforts by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The plan includes federal and state firearms prosecutions, with selection for federal prosecution made by a case review group, which is chaired by an Assistant U.S. Attorney and is comprised of representatives from agencies that have regular contact with firearms cases, such as ATF, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshal's Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and selected state prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. The plan also involves outreach efforts to make educators, community leaders and organizations aware of the district's efforts to reduce violence associated with handguns. The district's plan targets illegal gun trafficking, as well as all incidents involving firearms on school campuses. It will initially concentrate on the Montgomery area, with the implementation of comprehensive crime gun tracing. A similar approach will follow in the Auburn-Opelika, Phenix City and Dothan areas. ATF will provide training to law enforcement agencies throughout the district on firearms identification and crime gun tracing. ATF also conducts a "Gang Resistance Education and Training" ("GREAT") program in the schools in the district. In addition, ATF is working with a battered women's shelter to provide assistance when guns are present in domestic violence situations.


The Southern District of Alabama is a large, predominantly rural district, where gun ownership is widespread. Alabama's permissive gun laws, crowded criminal dockets and overcrowded prisons make it very difficult for state and local law enforcement to battle firearms violence. As a result, the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF formed "FIST," a task force in which federal, state and local law enforcement collaborate to investigate and prosecute illegal traffickers of firearms, as well as other criminals involved in violent criminal activity and narcotics violations. FIST also seeks to develop public support for anti-crime efforts by educating the community about the district's gun problems, applicable gun laws, gun safety and FIST's own efforts. ATF's focused compliance inspections of federal firearms licensees (FFLs) who have a high number of firearms trafficking indicators associated with their businesses augment the district's criminal enforcement efforts.


The District of Alaska's gun violence reduction efforts focus on Anchorage, where nearly half of Alaska's population resides. Particular firearms problems include illegal gun possession and use by gang members and others engaged in illegal drug dealing and related criminal activity. Alaska's three pronged strategy involves: (1) investigation and prosecution of firearms crime through the multi-jurisdictional Safe Streets Task Force, in which ATF and other federal, state and local law enforcement authorities participate; (2) use of technology and sophisticated data analysis, through comprehensive crime gun tracing and electronic crime mapping; and (3) using the "pulling levers" approach to deter further gun violence by repeat offenders under state or federal supervision.


The crime problem in Arizona is exacerbated by its border with Mexico and its position as a staging area for illegal drug importation and distribution, as well as alien smuggling, which has become increasingly associated with violent crime. In addition, firearms are trafficked to youth and juveniles, particularly in Phoenix and Tucson. Arizona's "Operation Cease Fire" currently has four components, each coordinated through the Arizona Law Enforcement Coordinating Council. The first component targets illegal trafficking in firearms, including "straw purchases" from licensed dealers, as well as criminal rings and non-compliant dealers who are the sources of firearms used in crimes. Comprehensive crime gun tracing and ATF compliance inspections will be used to identify offenders. The second component employs task forces, especially near the border with Mexico, and cooperation from Mexican officials, to identify and prosecute dealers, intermediaries and exporters who are supplying firearms to criminals in Mexico, who in turn are involved in drug and alien smuggling, robbing aliens attempting to enter the United States, assaulting Border Patrol and Customs officers, and other criminal activity. The third component employs focused federal, state and local deterrence efforts, with federal prosecutions used for armed offenders for whom state sanctions are inadequate. As part of this effort, training will be provided to assure that local law enforcement officers are aware of possible federal sanctions, and public service announcements (PSAs) will be developed. The fourth component expands several ongoing successful anti-firearms violence programs in the district and assures coordination among them.


Drug trafficking and use, including that by gangs, is the major source of firearms-related violence in the Eastern District of Arkansas. The district's multi-faceted plan to reduce gun violence continues several proven successful efforts, such as comprehensive crime gun tracing and investigating and prosecuting gang violence through the district's violent crime task force, "METROCK." To address firearms trafficking, ATF and state and local law enforcement officers have established a Firearms Trafficking Task Force, whose work will be assisted by the new program to test fire every crime gun via cooperation between the Arkansas Crime Lab, FBI and ATF. The district will also continue to deter illegal firearms trafficking at gun shows through ATF undercover operations. ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office will help educate law enforcement officers about resources and strategies for reducing firearms-related violence, and will provide local prosecutors with information about federal firearms offenses and sentences to encourage appropriate referrals. The district also plans to develop a partnership with Little Rock schools to educate school children about the dangers of firearms.


The Western District of Arkansas consists of 34 counties, covering almost 25,000 square miles, with a population of more than one million people. The district shares borders with Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri. The district's gun violence problem consists primarily of firearms possession and use by career criminals, violent felons, gang members and drug dealers. Four communities have been identified as target sites for the firearms violence reduction strategy: Hot Springs, Texarkana, Fort Smith and Rogers. The district's firearms violence reduction strategy emphasizes increasing cooperation with state and local law enforcement, with the goal of prosecuting more firearms crimes federally, so that appropriate offenders receive longer prison sentences than are available under state or local law. To encourage state and local law enforcement to refer firearms cases for federal adoption, representatives of the U.S. Attorney's office are traveling throughout the district, informing state and local law officers of the various federal firearm statutes and the long prison sentences that can be meted out in the federal system, and actively soliciting firearms cases. The District participates in a firearms trafficking task force and, working with the Eastern District of Arkansas, it conducted a training program for local law enforcement called "National Guns First: Training for Law Enforcement Officers to Help Reduce Illegal Trafficking of Firearms."


The Northern District of California encompasses several major metropolitan areas, including San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, San Jose and San Rafael. These cities share the same types of gun-related crime as other major cities: drug trafficking, drive-by shootings and gangs. The State of California has among the most restrictive firearms laws in the Nation. California's laws generally mirror those of the federal system, and include prohibitions against assault weapons and short barreled rifles and shotguns. California also has strict guidelines regarding the licensing of firearms dealers and manufacturers, as well as a law limiting the sale of firearms to one handgun per month to any individual. As a result of these strong state firearms laws, the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF have developed an effective, collaborative relationship with state and local law enforcement throughout the district, so that every gun case that should be prosecuted is prosecuted in either state or federal court. These investigative and prosecutorial efforts, known collectively as "Triggerlock II/Project Exile," are supported by a marketing campaign to make the public aware of the gun enforcement program, and to encourage citizen reporting of illegal gun possession. As part of the Triggerlock II/Project Exile program, on February 14, 2000, the U.S. Attorney's Office, in cooperation with federal, state and city agencies, as well as community organizations, initiated a gun/gang violence reduction program, entitled "Total Mission," in the Mission District of San Francisco. Total Mission is the first in a series of neighborhood-based coalitions that will incorporate a strategy of crime suppression, intervention, and prevention.


This district spans 40,007 miles with a population of nearly 18 million people, making it the most populous district in the country. It is comprised of seven counties that include a total of more than 175 cities. Violent crime problems vary considerably from city to city, and a response to gun violence throughout the district is part of the district's overall law enforcement strategy. The district is developing a variety of specific gun violence reduction strategies in response to the needs of particular communities. Each of the strategies involves a coordinated effort between federal, state and local law enforcement and government agencies. The district's first initiative responding to the President's directive is a comprehensive one designed to improve the quality of life in the City of Compton through an intensive effort to enforce criminal laws and a concurrent drive to develop resources, programs and facilities for the city's youth. "Kids First!," as the initiative is known, combines an aggressive and coordinated effort between federal and local law enforcement and prosecutors with an infusion of resources to develop and enhance youth programs, ranging from juvenile delinquency prevention to health, arts and education programs. Since the commencement of Kids First!, the district has begun work with local authorities to develop additional gun violence reduction projects targeted at specific sections of the City of Los Angeles, the largest urban center in the district, and the San Fernando Valley. Kids First! and the other gun violence reduction projects involve combinations of the following approaches: a co-located federal, state and local task force; comprehensive crime gun tracing; close coordination between federal and local prosecutors to assure that appropriate cases are referred for federal prosecution; training for local law enforcement officers; support sponsored by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for local law enforcement needs; coordinated information management; close monitoring of probationers and parolees; aggressive deployment of the U.S. Marshal's Service to apprehend fugitives; and social and economic development projects.


Both the overall crime rate and firearms violence are concentrated primarily in the same three counties within the Eastern District of California: San Joaquin, Fresno and Sacramento. The U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF are coordinating with local and state law enforcement authorities and with local District Attorneys to assure that federal prosecution occurs in all appropriate firearms cases, including domestic violence cases. The district's gun violence reduction strategy also includes: (1) "Operation Peacekeeper" in Stockton (based on Boston's "Operation Ceasefire") which uses communications, street-level counselors and intense uniformed law enforcement response to any gun violence by gangs, and which helped reduce the youth homicide rate in Stockton by 75 percent in 1998; (2) violent fugitive task forces in Sacramento and Stockton; (3) gang investigative task forces, including the "Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium" (MAGEC) in Fresno; (4) participation in Weed and Seed; (5) a "School Gun Violence Committee"; (6) gun interdiction and anti-trafficking training for local authorities; (7) use of "National Instant Criminal Background Check System" (NICS) information to target violent offenders; and (8) a "Domestic Violence Case Coordination Program," under which federal prosecutors and District Attorneys screen firearms cases resulting from domestic violence incidents to select the most effective venue for prosecution.


The firearms violence problems in the Southern District of California are primarily juvenile-, gang- and drug-related, but also involve a number of corrupt federal firearms licensees who sell to straw purchasers. These purchasers in turn sell guns to prohibited persons or traffic guns across the border into Mexico. Because the easy availability of guns to prohibited persons contributes significantly to the area's crime problems, the main objective of the district's gun strategy is to reduce criminal access to weapons. This will be accomplished by limiting the illegal sources of firearms through comprehensive crime gun tracing, targeting straw purchasers and targeting FFLs who sell to prohibited persons or obvious straw purchasers as well as those who engage in cross-border gun trafficking. The district intends to build upon several existing multi-agency task forces to enhance investigation of these persons; to implement a "zero tolerance" policy regarding the prosecution of these types of cases; to aggressively investigate and prosecute Brady Act false forms cases; and to provide gun interdiction training to local police officers, investigators and attorneys. The district's plan involves the cooperation and partnership of every law enforcement agency in the district.


Although firearms crime has decreased in Colorado over the past two decades, even in growing urban areas like Denver, weapons offenses among juveniles have doubled. The areas with the highest gun violence, and therefore the focus of the district's initiative, are the Denver Metropolitan area and the Colorado Springs/Pueblo corridor. The district's short-term goal is to more aggressively pursue federal and state prosecutions of gun law violations, and to develop a public awareness campaign directed at changing the culture of gun violence in Colorado. To that end, under "Colorado Project Exile," the U.S. Attorney's Office is working with state and local law enforcement to develop a coordinated intake mechanism to channel gun cases into the federal or state court depending upon which jurisdiction has the strictest sentencing laws for the particular crime. The district intends to more aggressively pursue prohibited person in possession cases, and crimes such as possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, gun dealer violations and Brady Act false forms cases. The district will also provide training to local law enforcement personnel in the investigation and prosecution of firearms cases. To address illegal trafficking, ATF participates in a gun task force in Colorado Springs, Denver and Aurora and in a youth crime gun interdiction initiative in Metropolitan Denver that includes comprehensive crime gun tracing and analysis to identify traffickers and violent crime "hot spots." In the long-term, the district intends to work with the private and non-profit sectors, as well as other local leaders, to implement violence prevention and education initiatives which will ultimately add gun violence to the list of conduct which society simply will no longer tolerate.


Although the District of Columbia has a comprehensive set of local firearms laws that prohibits the acquisition, possession and use of almost all firearms by non-law enforcement, illegal guns nonetheless continue to be present in the District of Columbia in significant numbers, fueling an extremely high rate of homicides and non-fatal firearm assaults. Building on a 1995 program of the same name, the District of Columbia's "Operation CEASEFIRE," a joint effort by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the ATF and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), implements a wide range of programs and strategies that include aggressive law enforcement efforts, prevention programs aimed at youth, and community participation. First, the U.S. Attorney's Office recently expanded its community prosecution program-assigning a team of prosecutors to work with the police and community representatives-to every police district in the city, thus enabling a district-by-district focus upon the city's gun problem. Second, the U.S. Attorney created a "Gang Prosecution Section" to increase the number of federal prosecutions of violent gangs. Third, the U.S. Attorney's Office will prosecute every violation of the federal felon-in-possession law in federal court (rather than in the D.C. Superior Court under D.C. law) and increase the number of federal prosecutions of armed drug dealers. Fourth, the District of Columbia has a comprehensive crime gun tracing program under ATF's YCGII. Further, ATF has established a regional crime gun center to gather intelligence on illegal gun trafficking, increase prosecutions of illegal gun traffickers and support local and federal efforts to prosecute gun crimes. Fifth, the U.S. Attorney's Office will seek to increase enforcement of probation and parole violations and violations of pretrial conditions of release by those offenders at risk for engaging in additional criminal activity. At the same time, the District of Columbia will work with city and faith community leaders to provide mentoring opportunities and alternatives to crime to those offenders seeking to change their criminal lifestyles. Sixth, the District of Columbia will expand school and community-based programs aimed at preventing youth participation in drug trafficking and gun violence, which will augment the existing ATF and MPD GREAT program in the schools. Finally, the District of Columbia will continue to implement a comprehensive media campaign to increase public awareness of gun-related crime and violence, and encourage the community to report illegal guns.


In recent years, gang task forces in Connecticut have dramatically reduced firearms violence in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. These task forces have made particularly effective use of federal wiretap capabilities to dismantle organized drug gangs in these cities. These successes have generated a need for strategies to address the more decentralized violent crime patterns emerging in some locations. To assess this new threat, the U.S. Attorney's Office spearheaded a collaborative law enforcement review of murders, assaults, robberies and reports of "shots fired" in New Haven. The results were shared with a broad array of community representatives, who were invited to help develop new strategies to address firearms violence. The strategy developed as a result of this process includes a targeted deterrence approach, with weekly meetings between federal and state prosecutors, ATF, state probation officers and police officers at police sub-stations to identify violent individuals at large, and to agree on proactive approaches for developing drug, gun or other cases against them. As part of this effort, a computer mapping program reflecting all shooting-related incidents and firearm recoveries is in the process of being implemented for use by the New Haven Department of Police Services and ATF. This component of the project will supplement the previously implemented comprehensive gun tracing project which is operating in the district's principal cities and is coordinated by ATF. In addition, targeted probationers and parolees are called to special "pulling levers" sessions where they are warned directly of the joint crackdown on firearms, and representatives of employment, substance abuse and educational programs offer them alternatives to violent crime.


Although the number of shootings has dropped dramatically in Wilmington, the city continues to experience a disproportionate share of the state's violence. Federal, state and local authorities, including the Delaware Department of Probation and Parole, under the auspices of the U.S. Attorney's Office, have been meeting since August 1999, and are implementing an initiative entitled "Make the Right Choice" to put chronic offenders on notice that both law enforcement and the community will not tolerate violent acts in Wilmington, and to encourage the chronic offenders to take advantage of various services such as drug counseling and employment counseling that are available in the community. This program is modeled generally on a program in the Middle District of North Carolina. ATF also has a firearms trafficking task force that focuses on the Wilmington area and is coordinated with the U.S. Attorney's Office.


The Northern District of Florida encompasses largely rural areas of the state, in which the gun violence problem differs somewhat from more urban areas. To develop the district strategy, the U.S. Attorney's Office, ATF, DEA and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies coordinated closely. The district gun violence reduction plan addresses the use of firearms by drug dealers, the possession of guns by persons convicted of violent felonies and the sale of guns by unlicensed persons at gun shows. Because Florida recently enacted statutory enhancements for crimes of violence and crimes involving the use of firearms, the strategy relies on coordination between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the State Attorney's Offices to enable prosecutions in the state system. In addition, the U.S. Attorney's Office is working with ATF to reduce illegal firearms trafficking in the district.


The Middle District is the largest of the three districts in the State of Florida, covering 35 of the state's 67 counties with approximately eight million of Florida's 13 million people. Two of the Nation's fastest growing metropolitan areas and five of the Nation's fastest growing counties are located in the district. The most prevalent gun problem is violent crime followed by international, interstate and intrastate firearms trafficking. "Operation HALT the Violence!" (HALT!) is a local, state and federal partnership, which includes law enforcement, prosecutors' offices, and probation and parole, among others, to reduce firearm violence and illicit trafficking. HALT! is a seven-prong plan (the "7 Ps") designed to: identify the particular crime problems and those offenders causing the problem (Problem Analysis); aggressively investigate and prosecute the most chronic offenders in federal and state court (Proactive Enforcement & Prosecution); coordinate comprehensive police training to enhance expertise in investigating gun violence cases (Police Training); notify offenders of the community's intolerance of violent acts and offer alternative opportunities to change their violent behavior (Prevention Through Intervention); develop a strong public service advertising campaign (Prevention Education); coordinate community partnerships and a multi-agency approach for the delivery of community resources (Planned Response Through Partnerships); and develop an on-going process to ascertain the effectiveness of the strategy and make changes as necessary (Process of Evaluation). The objectives of HALT! are to reduce violent crime by: locating and seizing unlawfully possessed guns; swiftly prosecuting offenders of federal and state ("10-20-Life") gun laws; and preventing future access to guns by felons. Innovative policies are being developed with ATF to analyze and attack the problem of straw purchases, FFL violations and other illicit trafficking in firearms. A public awareness campaign will incorporate the National Citizens Crime Prevention Campaign's PSAs, "Making Children, Families, and Communities Safer From Violence," which will include "Not One More" partnerships with communities in a "Weed & Seed"-style approach to gun violence.


The Southern District of Florida encompasses nine counties, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and is home to over four million residents. Law enforcement officials identify the easy availability of firearms to criminals as the most important factor contributing to firearms violence in this jurisdiction. The district's strategy therefore concentrates on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals in order to reduce the district's worst firearms violence problems: tourist robberies, bank robberies, drug market turf battles and carjackings. Federal, state and local law enforcement and government officials have worked with community groups and local churches to develop a number of new strategies designed to reduce firearms violence and reinvigorate existing programs. These strategies include: (1) "Operation Denial," which uses the pool of applicants for firearms denied approval under the Brady Act to identify and prosecute serious felons in search of firearms; (2) "Operation Pawntrack," which seeks to identify and prosecute felons attempting to pawn firearms; (3) the "Gun Show Task Force," a joint effort by ATF and state law enforcement targeting illegal weapons sales at gun shows; (4) "Project C.A.R.G.O.," a public education program aimed at youth, featuring seminars about handgun injuries, and which includes the distribution of gun locks with instructions on their proper use; (5) "Operation Drug-Fire," to expand firearms crime evidence testing and the dissemination of the information, working with the Miami-Dade County Gun Squad to enhance prosecution of violent offenders; (6) the "Robbery Information Clearinghouse," to facilitate the sharing of information between law enforcement agencies; (7) the "Miami/Miami-Dade County Weed and Seed Gun Abatement Strategy," to prevent firearms violence through educational programs in schools and gun swaps, with the help of churches, non-profit organizations and local law enforcement; and (8) the YCGII in Miami, to implement comprehensive crime gun tracing.


The gun violence reduction strategy in the Northern District of Georgia currently targets "hot spots" and chronic offenders in the City of Atlanta. Called "Operation FACE 5," because an illegal firearm in Atlanta can equal 5 years in prison, the strategy consists of a comprehensive partnership between a large number of federal and state law enforcement agencies, elected officials, probation and parole officers, community leaders, church and community organizations, media representatives and educators. The program focuses on vigorous investigation and prosecution of federal and state firearms laws through cooperation between the U.S. Attorney's Office, the local District Attorneys' Offices, ATF and local law enforcement; as well as a public awareness campaign, a community support campaign and confrontations with chronic offenders. Comprehensive crime gun tracing, ballistics information, debriefing of offenders, educational outreach and conflict resolution in public schools, and academic analyses of crime and public health data are all important parts of the district strategy.


The Middle District of Georgia covers a broad geographic area, and encompasses the jurisdictions of 70 Sheriffs' Departments and over 100 police departments. Federal authorities historically have vigorously pursued armed career criminal cases, and the state now has a very tough "two strikes and you're out law" to deal with repeat offenders. The district's strategy calls for extensive outreach to state and local law enforcement to encourage the referral of appropriate firearms cases for federal prosecution, and new initiatives based on information from an extensive study by the Mayor's "Youth Violence Prevention Task Force" in Macon. This study found a significant problem existed with young people possessing guns due to their association with illegal narcotics activity and with gang activity. The strategy calls for an adoption of the successful efforts produced in High Point, North Carolina, involving targeted deterrence and active law enforcement involvement with the community. The strategy will focus on the cities of Macon and Athens. The objectives of this strategy are: 1) to prevent or reduce the number of assaults and deaths resulting from gun violence; 2) to reduce other gun-related crime; 3) to increase public confidence in law enforcement and encourage citizen involvement; 4) to identify and target repeat violent offenders; 5) to notify remaining offenders of the community's intolerance of future violence and offer alternatives; and 6) to achieve these objectives through the cooperative efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement, with the full support of the community.


The Southern District of Georgia encompasses 43 counties, and includes the City of Savannah. The metropolitan areas of the district report typical violent crime distributions, including homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults. To address the district's firearms violence problem, the U.S. Attorney's Office has committed to accepting for prosecution a substantial number of federal firearms violations under an initiative entitled "Project CEASEFIRE." The U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF will work closely with state and local law enforcement to ensure that appropriate cases are referred for federal prosecution, and have developed guidance for local officials to ease presentation of cases for federal prosecution. ATF will work with local law enforcement officials to encourage comprehensive tracing of all firearms recovered in the district. Federal law enforcement officials are also developing a firearms-focused outreach program for presentation in public high schools.


The District of Guam's most significant violent crime problems are due primarily to convicted felons and illegal drug users (especially users of methamphetamine) who possess firearms. With limited federal investigative resources, federal authorities work closely with local investigators to ensure that all drug cases involving handguns are referred for federal prosecution. The U.S. Attorney's Office also works closely with the Guam Attorney General's Office to ensure that violent and career offenders are aggressively prosecuted. ATF is working with the Guam Police Department to encourage comprehensive crime gun tracing to identify firearms traffickers for investigation and prosecution.


Hawaii's firearms laws are among the most stringent in the United States, and despite publicized individual instances of firearms violence over the years, gun crime in Hawaii is relatively rare. Although the state system is generally well-equipped to handle the firearms crime that occurs in the district, federal officials have identified ways in which federal authorities can assist local enforcement and improve enforcement efforts, including helping local law enforcement agencies develop the ability to trace all recovered crime guns. Federal authorities will continue to work collaboratively with their state and local counterparts.


Federal authorities in the District of Idaho have joined with state and local leaders to develop a gun violence reduction program that combines aggressive prosecution and focused outreach. It draws on the entire range of resources within the district, from schools and law enforcement agencies to youth groups, business leaders and the faith community, and targets problem areas such as the nexus between drugs and gun violence, incidents of firearms in schools and the presence of gangs and hate groups. Among the program's components are: (1) continued prioritization of prosecutions involving drug traffickers and violent criminals who illegally possess guns; (2) pilot programs to trace guns retrieved from juvenile offenders; (3) enhanced gun violence reduction training for state and local law enforcement officers and prosecutors; (4) increased emphasis on crime gun tracing and the investigation of FFLs with significant trafficking indicators associated with their businesses; and (5) expansion of the district's drug and alcohol abuse outreach effort to educate the public about gun violence, including support for the Governor's hotline for reporting guns at schools.


The Northern District of Illinois's "Project Surefire" is an integrated firearms violence reduction strategy that maximizes the resources of federal, state and local law enforcement. The district contains the City of Chicago, which has a significant street gang and drug problem. Project Surefire focuses on dismantling specific criminal organizations identified through the effective use of shared intelligence, advanced crime mapping, comprehensive crime gun tracing techniques and a statewide implementation of the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN). It includes enhanced prosecutions, a publicity campaign to deter would-be offenders and work with community-based organizations to reduce violence. Resources are also dedicated to the increased monitoring of the regulated firearms industry to identify irresponsible firearm dealers and to eliminate straw purchasers of firearms. Chicago participates in ATF's "Cops and Docs" initiative, in which medical examiners and forensic officials provide ATF with bullets recovered from gunshot victims for analysis using the ballistics network. In conjunction with the Chicago Police Department's "Community Alternative Policing Strategy" (CAPS) and the education community, juveniles and young adults are being offered mentoring opportunities and options to deal with life issues in ways that do not involve violence.


The Central District of Illinois includes the state capital, Springfield, as well as Peoria, Champaign-Urbana and many large rural areas. Gun violence in the district arises primarily from drug-related gang activity and crimes committed by repeat offenders. Juveniles and young adults are increasingly involved in gang activity. Illinois and federal laws overlap significantly, enabling many gun cases to be prosecuted in either jurisdiction. Federal authorities coordinate with state and local law enforcement to screen and refer firearms cases to the most appropriate jurisdiction for effective and aggressive prosecution. The district's gun violence reduction strategy focuses on community outreach to strengthen current strategies targeting violent and recidivist offenders, drug traffickers and gangs. As a part of this strategy, federal authorities will re-train and update state and local law enforcement on federal firearms laws and will heighten efforts to follow up on all cases in which juveniles have been found in possession of firearms. In addition, the district is developing programs to debrief arrestees, strengthen the referral process and increase law enforcement's focus on illegal transactions at gun shows. Recently, a gun initiative has been formulated for the Peoria metropolitan area (the district's largest) which will screen all firearms cases for an appropriate resolution in either state of federal court.


Most of the gun-related crime in the Southern District of Illinois occurs in the Metro-East St. Louis area, the Carbondale and Murphysboro areas of Jackson County, and in the cities of Mount Vernon, Centralia, and Cairo. The overwhelming majority of gun-related violence in these areas is associated with the distribution of crack cocaine in predominately poor neighborhoods and housing developments, and gang presence contributes significantly to the gun-related violence. The district's firearms violence reduction strategy continues the district's coordinated efforts under the Attorney General's 1994 "Anti-Violent Crime Initiative," and targets the most violent firearms offenders for federal prosecution. Federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors will coordinate closely to identify offenders for federal prosecution. Automatic referrals of certain types of offenders will be a priority in the high violence areas identified in the district's strategy. In some counties, cross-designations of Assistant State's Attorneys as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys will permit gun violators to be prosecuted in either local or federal courts. Federal authorities will also conduct federal firearms training for state and local law enforcement, and are actively seeking information on persons wanted on warrants. The district's plan also stresses the importance of data collection, analysis and sharing, and the Illinois State Police Resource Support Center and laboratory will be critical to that effort. Comprehensive crime gun tracing is also being implemented to assist in identifying gun traffickers. The district is also working with the Eastern District of Missouri in a collaborative effort similar to Boston, Massachusetts' "Operation Ceasefire," focusing on youth who are at risk of committing to the criminal lifestyle.


The Northern District of Indiana's "Operation Bull's-Eye" is a comprehensive and coordinated approach to reducing firearms violence that involves federal, state and local investigators and prosecutors. The strategy includes coordinated decision-making among federal, state and local law enforcement regarding the filing of firearms charges, and expansion of existing firearms enforcement training and technical support for state and local law enforcement. The district's plan also includes the use of sophisticated computer technology, including crime mapping, crime gun tracing, ballistics analysis and computer networking of criminal intelligence information. Referral systems will ensure that state gun permits are revoked whenever a permit holder is convicted of a felony, and that NICS denials are referred to ATF for review and possible criminal charges. Public education efforts about Operation Bull's-Eye have been initiated throughout the district to deter gun violence. The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, in a joint effort with MTV, has provided area law enforcement agencies and school districts with interactive anti-violence CD-ROMs for use in high school classes. The district's "Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee" (LECC) program also conducted two school violence crisis management training seminars, which attracted over 300 school and law enforcement officials. ATF has also established a task force-funded through the "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area" (HIDTA)-that focuses on firearms trafficking in Lake and Porter counties. These counties are in the northwest part of the district, closest to Chicago, where much of the trafficking moves across the state line.


Within the Southern District of Indiana, the city with the highest incidence of gun violence is Indianapolis. In 1998, as part of the Department of Justice-funded program, "Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative" (SACSI), the U.S. Attorney's Office helped create the "Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership" (IVRP), a coordinated, multi-agency task force, which evaluated the city's homicides as well as a wide range of data regarding the city's gun violence. This analysis led to the recognition that an overwhelming proportion of violent crime was committed by individuals with extensive criminal histories and led to the development of several gun violence reduction strategies for the district. Three of IVRP's key strategies are: (1) regular "lever pulling meetings" which communicate to probationers and parolees a message of intolerance of violence as well as the choices and consequences of violence; (2) increased coordination and communication among law enforcement agencies and the community; and (3) the "Violence Impact Program Enhance Response" (VIPER), which is designed to reduce the level of violence by removing chronic violent offenders through increased arrest, prosecution, incarceration and enhanced supervision while on probation or parole. Additionally, ATF traces all crime guns seized in Indianapolis/Marion County.


Although gun violence is relatively uncommon in the largely rural Northern District of Iowa, the number of firearms homicides increased by 40 percent from 1994 to 1998 (from 24 to 34), with many of the shootings arising in domestic relationships. Accordingly, two attorneys from the Iowa Attorney General's office have been cross-deputized to prosecute domestic violence cases federally, and a federal, state and local drug task force works to develop firearms cases in the course of drug investigations. These efforts are being enhanced by additional training on federal and state firearms statutes and penalties at all levels of law enforcement--federal, state and local prosecutors, police, investigators and judges. The district also plans to develop PSAs to educate the public on the seriousness of federal sanctions, to implement comprehensive crime gun tracing and to work with schools on violence prevention. At the suggestion of local officials whose input was sought at planning meetings, the district produced a colorful laminated card detailing federal gun laws. This "Quick Reference Guide to Federal Firearms Laws" is sized to fit in a patrol officer's ticket book or vehicle sun visor for ready reference. See Appendix F of the National Strategy. In coordination with the Southern District of Iowa, 8,000 of these cards were distributed in December 1999 to every law enforcement officer, probation agent, and local prosecutor in Iowa.


The firearm violence reduction plan in the Southern District of Iowa consists of two primary components: (1) The "Fast Track to Federal Prosecution" (Fast Track) program, which is designed to encourage local law enforcement agencies immediately to identify and refer for federal prosecution the types of offenses and offenders for whom federal prosecution holds the greatest deterrent effect; and (2) the "Domestic Violence Initiative," which is designed to identify and prosecute prohibited domestic violence offenders who possess or seek to possess firearms. The Fast Track program began with the mass mailing of over 200 posters to city and county law enforcement agencies which summarized federal firearms laws and described the Fast Track program. Further, in conjunction with the Northern District of Iowa, thousands of laminated cards describing federal firearms offenses were distributed to state and local law enforcement officers in both districts to facilitate the Fast Track initiative. See Appendix F of the National Strategy. To implement the Domestic Violence Initiative, two attorneys from the Iowa Attorney General's Office have been designated Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys and are assigned to prosecute firearm violations associated with domestic abuse situations, in addition to conducting extensive training programs for local law enforcement officers.


The U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas, in partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri, ATF and local and state agencies, formed a "Kansas City Metro Task Force" to prosecute firearms violations. Part of the focus is on violent offenders who commit multiple "Hobbs Act" robberies in the greater metropolitan area. Based on success in Wichita and Topeka, Kansas, the Task Force expects to have a significant impact on reducing armed commercial robberies. It will also concentrate on the prosecution of repeat firearms offenders. In the southern and western ends of the state, the U.S. Attorney's Office will work closely with ATF to target repeat violent offenders who are using or carrying guns during criminal activity. In addition, ATF works with state and local authorities in the district to trace all recovered crime guns, and is in the process of establishing an intelligence group in the district that will analyze the tracing information and produce investigative leads.


Through its Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee, consisting of ATF and other federal agents, state police, county sheriffs and local police chiefs, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky has determined that domestic violence is its major firearms violence problem. The district has therefore focused its firearms violence reduction strategy on prosecution, training and prevention to reduce domestic violence. The U.S. Attorney's Office, together with ATF, will review every NICS referral as well as referrals from state, county and local police, and will prosecute or notify the offender or judicial officer, as appropriate. The district will also seek to raise public awareness of the problem of domestic violence by publicizing prosecutions and by participating in training with victim rights' groups about such issues as reporting, investigating and prosecuting domestic violence offenses. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF will present law enforcement training focusing particularly on federal offenses involving possession of firearms by prohibited persons and relevant state offenses.


The majority of the district's problems with gun violence are centered in Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky's largest metropolitan area. Under "Project Backfire," a cooperative prosecution program between the U.S. Attorney's Office, the County Attorney, the Commonwealth Attorney, and ATF, the city's three prosecution offices will review all gun-related arrests to ensure the defendants are prosecuted in the most appropriate forum. The goal of the project is to eliminate the deficiencies of prior state court practice which permitted most gun offenders to escape jail time and to ensure that the most serious cases are prosecuted in federal court. ATF traces all firearms used in crimes, and it will use this information to identify and eliminate gun dealers who are funneling guns through straw purchases to criminals. The program also draws upon the efforts of the Mayor's "Task Force to End Gun Violence," a group which included the U.S. Attorney, ATF, local police officers and prosecutors, gun dealers, school officials, emergency room physicians, academics and religious leaders, to find more comprehensive solutions to the problems of gun violence.


In recent years, the murder rate in New Orleans has dropped substantially (from 428 in 1994 to just under 160 in 1999) but gun violence remains a major problem, particularly in economically-distressed neighborhoods where drug and gang crimes are prevalent. In New Orleans, "Project Exile" has compensated for the inability of state prosecutors to successfully detain and prosecute individuals who illegally possess firearms. To date, approximately 90 percent of all Project Exile defendants are detained and all but one have been convicted. The district is also focused on combating gun and other crime in public housing through the multiple-agency "Safe Home Task Force." The district also places a strong emphasis on developing intelligence on gun trafficking patterns through crime gun tracing.


From 1992 to 1996, Baton Rouge experienced a dramatic increase in the number of youth involved in violent crimes. During this period, the number of juveniles under 16 years of age arrested annually increased by 61 percent. In 1996, juveniles were responsible for 14 homicides, as well as numerous armed robberies, aggravated assaults, and other weapons violations. In response, federal, state and local law enforcement, city officials, community organizations and others joined together to form the "Baton Rouge Partnership for the Prevention of Juvenile Gun Violence." The partnership targeted repeat offender youth up to age 21 from two high-crime zip code areas of Baton Rouge. The partnership designed a comprehensive strategy with four specific goals. The first goal was to implement a multi-agency law enforcement strategy to reduce gun-related and other violent crimes by juveniles and older youth through: intensive probation and law enforcement focus on the small group of violent and chronic young offenders; reducing illegal access to guns by investigating and prosecuting gun traffickers and straw purchasers; and expediting the judicial response to gun-related offenses, including expedited federal prosecution where possible. The second goal was implementation of an intensive intervention program to reduce the risk factors for the highest risk youth, their families and the community. The third goal involved implementation of a long-term prevention program that identifies youth who may be at risk for violence, and strengthens resources to serve those young people. And the fourth goal is to aggressively investigate and prosecute gun-related offenses committed by adults, through "Project Exile/Baton Rouge," a collaborative effort by the police department, sheriff's office, ATF and U.S. Attorney's Office to combine swift and sure federal prosecution of firearms offenses with a public education campaign that warns criminals of the penalties if they are caught with an illegal gun. "Project Exile/Baton Rouge began on January 21, 1999, and was responsible for the indictment of 102 adult offenders during its first 12 months. Examples of the types of charges brought against these individuals included Brady Act violations, felons-in-possession of firearms, possession of firearms with obliterated serial numbers and possession of sawed-off shotguns. Sentences have averaged in excess of five years.


Forty-two of Louisiana's 64 parishes make up the Western District of Louisiana, and the district is home to over two million people. The district has several programs to address gun crime. The U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF have established a referral program to deal with gun crimes, including cases developed using "Project Triggerlock," crime gun tracing and referrals from NICS. The district is currently focusing on prohibited persons in possession of firearms. Other programs include a gun recovery and enforcement initiative training program; assistance to law enforcement agencies to collect and use existing tracing data for guns that come into their custody; coordination with school resource officers to trace all guns taken off school campuses; use of "On-line LEAD" trace information to its full extent; ATF review of records of out-of-business firearms dealers and cross-check with the National Tracing Center database; and aggressive enforcement of federal firearms laws.


The District of Maine is predominately rural, with three medium-sized metropolitan areas. Its violent crime problem is primarily related to domestic violence, drug-related organizations, juvenile offenders and some gang activity. In addition, a significant number of felons unlawfully possess firearms in the state. The district will continue to rely principally on the task force approach to combat gun violence and other violent crime. Three violent crime task forces are located in the areas identified as having the most serious violent crime and firearms problems. The task forces include representatives from state and local police and sheriffs departments, ATF, U.S. Marshal's Service, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the District Attorney's Office. In addition, the district is undertaking various training and prevention initiatives; seeking new and innovative avenues for funding task force operations and creating adequate information databases; and aggressively pursuing the use of crime gun tracing and mapping.


Despite an overall decrease in violent crime in Baltimore, Maryland, the number of murders continues to exceed 300 annually. A recent analysis of homicides in Baltimore revealed drug trafficking as a key ingredient in the homicides and identified members of 325 "drug groups" as key actors in the homicides. Project "DISARM" is a federal, state and local comprehensive plan to reduce gun-related violence by seeking federal prosecution for gun-carrying felons, based on a collaborative case referral and screening process. The number of federal indictments under these plans increased by 72 percent from 1998 to 1999. Beginning in January 2000, the selective criteria for firearms offenses in Baltimore was reduced with the result that a 100 percent increase in federal indictments is anticipated in 2000, with over 290 indictments expected. DISARM also includes U.S. Attorney's Office participation in Baltimore Police in-service training and a multi-media public outreach program warning of the consequences of federal prosecution, including business cards, billboards and radio spots. DISARM also accepts referrals in support of "Operation Safe Neighborhoods," which draws heavily on the Boston "Operation Ceasefire" model as a complement to these other federal prosecution initiatives. Baltimore participates in ATF's YCGII and uses crime gun tracing and other information to combat illegal trafficking in firearms.


In Boston, Massachusetts, recent reductions in the violent crime rate and, particularly, the homicide rate, have exceeded the impressive national declines. Boston's successful attack on gun violence was driven by careful research and analysis. The research determined that a relatively small number of repeat violent offenders, largely youthful, were responsible for a disproportionately large share of the gun violence in the city. By 1995, Boston Police had moved to a neighborhood policing strategy and had formed the "Youth Violence Strike Force," which permitted the police to devote significant resources to violence-troubled areas. ATF had formed a partnership with the Boston Police Strike Force, and the U.S. Attorney's Office was working with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office to ensure that firearms offenses were prosecuted in the most deterrent-effective manner possible. The state probation office had already joined with the police department to implement "Operation Night Light." The religious community was actively involved in combating youth violence. And city-employed street workers were in place, on the streets, to help direct services to at-risk youths. In 1996, "Operation Ceasefire," a city-wide strategy to deter firearm violence among youthful offenders, was established. The goal of Ceasefire was to communicate warnings to gangs that, if violence occurred, there would be swift, predictable responses with weighty consequences, including federal prosecution with lengthy sentences. This strategy of targeted deterrence was balanced by the offer of meaningful and realistic alternatives. For example, the "Boston Jobs Project"-a federal, state and local joint effort, funded in part by the Departments of Justice and Labor-provides at-risk young people with job training, placement, education and counseling services. And Boston police officers also now work with social workers located in police stations. Growing out of these existing, successful initiatives, the district plans to pursue the following programs: (1) felon-in-possession prosecutions of repeat violent offenders; (2) gun dealing/trafficking prosecutions; (3) targeted gang/drug prosecutions; and (4) an anti-violence program in Western Massachusetts.


In 1999, Michigan homicides began to increase, even though other categories of crime continued to decline. In response, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan formed a working group to address gun violence. This group includes ATF, DEA, FBI, the U.S. Marshal's Service, the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, the Wayne County Department of Community Justice and the Southeast Michigan HIDTA. The working group analyzed Detroit's gun-related homicide problem and developed a strategy that includes aggressive enforcement against perpetrators, enhanced use of technology for crime analysis and investigation, crime prevention and intervention. In addition, the working group is engaged in an ongoing process to identify and deploy the resources necessary to implement both short- and long-term strategies. These strategies include: (1) a "Homicide Task Force" that targets individuals and groups who are responsible for drug-related homicides in the City of Detroit; (2) the "Southeast Michigan Forensic Enhancement Initiative" to improve and expedite the level of forensic services that are available to investigators and prosecutors; (3) "Operation Countdown," a collaborative effort between the Detroit Police Department, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and ATF, to provide for the referral of appropriate cases for federal prosecution; (4) a program to increase the apprehension of fugitives wanted in the City of Detroit; (5) a data collection initiative to make technology an integral part of investigative techniques; (6) a strong prevention, intervention and treatment component focused especially on youth; (7) activities to raise public awareness about, and mobilize the community to address, gun violence, including a billboard campaign and a gun violence youth education program; and (8) use of the "Crime Stoppers" program, which provides an anonymous dial-in tip line enabling citizens to report criminal activity and receive cash awards. In the long- term, the working group has proposed supplementing other strategies with the establishment of a "Regional Crime Gun Center." This centrally located, multi-agency staffed firearms clearinghouse would provide law enforcement with all available information about recovered firearms, including mapping information and firearm recovery trends.


The Western District of Michigan encompasses the state capital, Lansing, and other mid-sized cities such as Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, as well as large suburban and rural areas. The district's gun violence reduction plan increases the emphasis on the referral of gun cases for federal prosecution. The U.S. Attorney's Office will prioritize various types of guns cases, including serious violations by federal firearms licensees and armed bank robberies (which increased by 80 percent during the first nine months of 1999). In addition, ATF will investigate federal firearms licensees who are suspected of selling handguns to straw purchasers, and federal authorities will conduct educational outreach to state, local and tribal law enforcement to advise them that federal prosecutors will investigate and prosecute appropriate gun cases. To implement this plan, the U.S. Attorney has assigned one Assistant U.S. Attorney to serve as a Firearms Violence Reduction Specialist. The Michigan Attorney General, the Mayor of Grand Rapids, the Kent County Prosecutor and numerous local law enforcement agencies have agreed to join the U.S. Attorney's Office to enter into a "Project Exile"-type initiative in the district's most populous county. The initiative will include the appointment of Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys from both the Michigan Attorney General's office and the local prosecutor's office to assist in the prosecution process. ATF has appointed two special agents to handle local criminal referrals and the FBI has committed resources from its "Fugitive Task Force" to supplement the effort. The initiative will have several components including: prosecution, advertising, education, the provision of free firearm trigger locks and possibly a firearms "buy back" plan that could include food or toy coupons in exchange for handguns.


Since 1995, the number of homicides in Minneapolis, the state's largest city, has decreased by nearly 75 percent. However, gangs continue to be a problem, as are juvenile offenders and chronic violent offenders. Straw purchases are also a concern, as ATF crime gun tracing data has shown that many of the firearms that end up in the hands of prohibited persons were obtained through straw purchases. Finally, gun violence is of particular concern in Indian Country. To deal with these issues, ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office have joined forces with state and local law enforcement to form the "Minnesota Criminal Gang Strike Force," which in the last three years has investigated and prosecuted a number of violent gangs throughout the district under a targeted deterrence, or "pulling levers" initiative. In addition, ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office work closely with the Weapons Unit of the Minneapolis Police Department to investigate and refer for prosecution all cases involving the use of firearms. Collaboration between federal and local prosecutors is critical. State law requires a five-year minimum prison sentence for any felon convicted of using or possessing a gun in the commission of a violent crime. This and other state statutes give prosecutors numerous options to charge illegal gun possession and use in Minnesota. The U.S. Attorney's Office has taken advantage of these tough state laws to develop a close working relationship with local prosecutors, known as "Project SAFETY ON." Under Project SAFETY ON, federal and local prosecutors have agreed, through a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to work together to ensure that all criminals found in possession of a gun face either state or federal charges, as appropriate. Thus, while the state's five-year mandatory minimum law adequately addresses many offenders, the U.S. Attorney's Office encourages local authorities to refer for federal prosecution those cases where enhanced federal penalties are called for, such as cases involving repeat violent offenders, straw purchasers, gun traffickers and the like. Project SAFETY ON will be supported by a media campaign, informing potential violators of the seriousness of federal and state firearms laws.


Under "Operation Piecekeeper," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Mississippi has established a gun violence reduction task force with ATF, state and local law enforcement agencies, and school security officers. The task force's initial objectives are to investigate and prosecute cases involving the use of a firearm during the commission of a violent or drug trafficking crime, possession of firearms by prohibited persons, straw purchasing and gun trafficking. The task force will also train state and local law enforcement agencies about federal firearms laws, gun tracing and the use of ballistics information. The task force's efforts are focused initially on the district's three largest cities, Greenville, Tupelo and Columbus. Its efforts will be expanded to other cities and counties in the future. The task force's efforts are intended to complement and supplement other federal and local initiatives, such as "Project Triggerlock," the "Armed Violent Criminal Apprehension Program," the "Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force" (OCDETF) and Weed and Seed.


In July 1999, the Southern District of Mississippi launched "Operation Jackson Ceasefire," which centers on a full-time, five-agency co-located ATF-led Jackson Gun Unit. The central mission of the unit is to gather evidence throughout the district's principal urban center of Jackson, Mississippi, to support a substantial increase in federal prosecutions of violent felons in possession of handguns within Jackson. The operation also emphasizes proactive investigations of illegal gun trafficking within Jackson, intensive training of all Jackson police officers in gun statutes and the direct delivery of a message of deterrence to previously-convicted persons through 25 commercial billboards (featuring the message "You + Illegal Gun = Federal Prison") and through direct communications to state probationers. In addition, a district-wide initiative, called "Reducing Violence Through Gun Enforcement," will feature an intensive Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee training of local law enforcement officers in gun-related issues and investigatory techniques.


The Eastern District of Missouri has focused its gun violence reduction efforts on the City of St. Louis, which has one of the highest per capita homicide rates in the country. Federal firearms laws are vigorously enforced in the district, and the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF actively review state cases for federal prosecution due to relatively weak state laws and sentencing practices. The district's firearms violence reduction plan, "Operation Ceasefire," is modeled on both Boston, Massachusetts' successful program of the same name and Richmond, Virginia's "Project Exile," and includes coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement officials, public school administrators, clergy, gang outreach workers, probation and parole officers, and a number of social service providers. The plan includes: (1) application of intensive law enforcement resources to high-crime "hot-spots" through directed police patrols; (2) a consent to search initiative; (3) a "NightWatch" program whereby police-probation teams do nightly curfew checks on high-risk juvenile offenders; (4) identification of the 100 most violent offenders in the region for enhanced investigation and prosecution efforts; (5) comprehensive crime gun tracing; (6) targeted deterrence and focused gang outreach; (7) clergy outreach to high-risk youth; and (8) increased coordination between schools, clergy, courts, police and others addressing the problem of youth violence in the community. The district also has two active Weed and Seed programs, each with multiple sites, in both St. Louis and Southeast Missouri, and actively prosecutes gun cases from those sites.


The vast majority of gun-related violent crimes in the Western District of Missouri occurs in Kansas City. Almost half of the offenders are under 24 years of age. Moreover, over 40 percent of the guns that find their way to Kansas City originate in another state. The district's five-part plan, which involves cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement and local government and community agencies, addresses illegal use, possession and sale of firearms. The plan includes: (1) a federa1, state and local law enforcement task force that investigates and prosecutes firearm-related illegal conduct, including felons-in-possession and firearms used in the commission of a crime; (2) ATF tracing of all handguns found at crime scenes or related to criminal conduct; (3) investigating and prosecuting illegal sales and transfers of firearms; (4) informing felons about the prohibitions against their possession of firearms; and (5) encouraging and monitoring the apprehension of fugitives by the district's fugitive task force. Project Felon, the prosecution program, began on November 1, 1999. The Governor has recently pledged the assistance of the Missouri Highway Patrol to add troopers to the investigative effort. The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office has assigned a prosecutor who has been sworn in as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. As of March 31, 2000, 51 defendants had been indicted as felons-in-possession. Twenty-four defendants pleaded guilty and one defendant was convicted after trial.


Montana is one of our largest but least populated states, with most of the population centered around six communities. Although the state experiences a relatively low incidence of firearms violence, 72 percent of homicides and 50 percent of robberies involve firearms. In addition, firearms are often present in furtherance of drug trafficking offenses. The District of Montana emphasizes cooperative efforts among federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement to ensure the appropriate and timely prosecution of offenders who violate gun laws or engage in firearms-related violence. Training efforts to apprise state and local law enforcement about federal firearms statutes and prosecution options are part of the district's plan, as are improved referral mechanisms to assure that appropriate cases reach the federal system. Montana state law presents special problems for prosecuting some federal firearms possession offenses. Although Montana law provides that certain types of offenders remain under state supervision for life, thereby precluding the restoration of civil rights, the law also automatically restores the right to possess a firearm upon termination of state supervision for a state offense. This severely undermines the prosecution of federal felon-in-possession offenses.


The District of Nebraska's gun violence reduction program, "Project Impact," is a data-driven effort designed to reduce, interdict and prevent youth gun violence in Omaha. To develop and implement the plan, an unprecedented group--including federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, local community service providers, members of the faith community and grass roots community organizers--collaborated with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, examined the issues that surround youth gun violence in Omaha and created an action-oriented plan to address the problem. A steering committee oversees the work of seven different Project Impact teams. The Working Team consists of community members and command-level representatives from law enforcement and criminal justice partners responsible for implementing the strategies and plans developed by the Community and Incident Review Teams. The Community Team draws from the expertise of local service providers and grass root organizers, and identifies community resources that can be used to reduce youth gun violence. The Incident Review Team includes law enforcement and criminal justice officials assigned to street-level responsibilities, who review violent incidents and craft strategies to interdict and prevent further violence. Three strategies developed by this team are: (1) "Operation Night Light," under which teams of police and probation/parole officers contact probationers and parolees during the evening or "off" hours to ensure their compliance with court orders; (2) "offender meetings" at which law enforcement, criminal justice and community representatives tell offenders that gun violence will be met with a strong and coordinated response, and offer resources for those individuals who want to turn away from violence; (3) "Operation Ceasefire," a coordinated response by all of the law enforcement agencies and criminal justice partners committed to Project Impact. The Juvenile Accountability Team consists of officials from juvenile justice agencies who work to advance inter-agency information sharing while promoting increased accountability for juveniles in the criminal justice system. The Omaha Public School/Probation-Parole Team/Task Force has three initial goals: (1) confirm that a youth is registered in school; (2) verify attendance; and (3) ensure the school notifies the probation/parole officer when discipline occurs at school. The Geographic Information System (GIS) Team is developing a geographical information system specific to Project Impact that allows data to be mapped and relationships between objects to be displayed and analyzed. Finally, the South Omaha Impact Team, a subset of the Community Team, represents a new effort with residents in South Omaha working together to develop focused interventions that are specific to the types of violent incidents occurring in South Omaha.


The District of Nevada's gun violence problem is largely attributable to the easy availability of guns to criminals. Due to the widespread ownership of and active market for guns in the state, criminals obtain firearms through straw purchases, the use of false identification and burglaries of residences and commercial gun dealerships. Las Vegas leads the nation in fugitive arrests, and experiences a steady influx of convicted felons from other states who are predisposed to carry firearms. To combat these problems, the district established an anti-gun violence program called "Project EFFECT." At the center of the program is aggressive prosecution of appropriate felon-in-possession cases and other federal cases such as those brought under the Brady Act and the Violence Against Women Act. All local firearms arrests throughout the state are submitted by police agencies to ATF to be screened for potential federal prosecution. As part of the district's gun violence reduction plan, the U.S. Attorney's Office is also offering a series of multi-media presentations to educate the local police regarding the advantages of federal prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorneys will attend round-the-clock roll calls in each police area command in an education effort that will ultimately reach every Southern Nevada uniformed police officer in person. The district's gun violence reduction strategy also emphasizes prevention, including a program based on educating the public, and felons and domestic violence offenders in particular, about the firearms laws. The district has developed and will be expanding a presentation for state prison inmates facing imminent release, which has received positive feedback from state prison officials for its effectiveness. In addition, prosecutors and agents are working with the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation and other agencies to design a prisoner reentry program. The program will target individuals recently released from state prison into Las Vegas Weed and Seed sites and will provide community based services and monitoring to enhance the opportunities for successful transition into the community. Finally, because Nevada leads the nation in suicides per capita, the district hopes to draw upon the work of the recently established center for the study of suicide prevention at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and to develop strategies that might assist in preventing suicide.


Domestic violence incidents, the use of firearms during drug crimes--particularly in the district's largest cities, Manchester and Nashua--and possession and use of firearms by habitual offenders in the southern counties, are the gun violence problems of primary concern within the District of New Hampshire. The district is also concerned with the illegal purchase of firearms by non-residents in border areas of the state and the trafficking of these firearms to gangs in neighboring cities, such as Boston, Massachusetts. The district's strategy will draw on existing resources, including networks established by the FBI and ATF with state and local law enforcement. Through these networks, each agency receives investigation and prosecution referrals. "Operation Streetsweeper" and "Operation Triggerlock" are initiatives that target violent crime and illegal gun use, respectively. Operation Triggerlock was recently expanded to include cases involving attempted purchases of firearms by prohibited individuals and to focus on domestic violence cases in the southern part of the district. The goal of the strategy is to integrate these various programs, to coordinate multi-agency cooperation, and to focus all available investigative and prosecutorial resources on firearms violence.


New Jersey's six major urban centers contained less than 12 percent of the state's population but accounted for more than 47 percent of the state's violent crime between 1988 and 1997. In 1997, firearms were used in more than half of the state's murders, 30 percent of robberies and 14 percent of aggravated assaults. In addition, street gangs derive income from illegal trafficking in guns and drugs. According to ATF, those illegally possessing or using firearms are largely males under 30 years of age, and the guns are typically trafficked into New Jersey via Route 95, from states with comparatively less strict gun control laws. Obliterated serial numbers are an increasing problem. New Jersey is fortunate to have strong state laws to complement federal laws in combating firearms violence. The cooperative approach to firearms violence in New Jersey includes crime gun tracing, investigation based on database information and local incident reports, and establishing working relationships among local police departments, county prosecutor's offices, probation and parole officers, community leaders and federal agencies to support vigorous enforcement of the firearms laws. Through a coordinated effort, all firearm offenses are prosecuted by the appropriate prosecuting authority. Under Camden's "Ceasefire" program, for example, felons found with guns are typically prosecuted in the forum where the offender faces the greatest penalty. The district is also emphasizing enforcement in public housing projects, enhanced law enforcement training programs, public outreach and education and monitoring of trafficking indicators for federal firearms dealers in the state.


New Mexico has a serious gun violence problem that arises from street gangs, drug trafficking, the ready availability of firearms, illegal firearms trafficking and violent juvenile offenders. New Mexico firearms laws are extremely limited, so federal firearms enforcement is critical. To date, the District of New Mexico has focused its gun violence reduction strategy on deterring illegal gun possession and reducing sources of illegal guns. The district plans to continue aggressive prosecution of Brady Act "false form" cases, and will expand its approach by working with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that appropriate felon-in-possession cases, and armed violent and narcotics trafficking cases, are referred to federal court. The district will work with local agencies to prosecute those who possess firearms and to enhance supervision of probationers and parolees. The district also plans to monitor federal firearms licensees more closely, use crime gun tracing to identify straw purchasers and interview all juveniles convicted of armed delinquency to determine the sources of their guns. The district will implement a new educational and community outreach program to educate prospective offenders about the penalties for federal firearms violations, and will establish a hotline for students and other citizens to report the illegal possession of guns.


Much of the gun violence in the Eastern District of New York is attributable to street gangs, organized crime and other groups involved in criminal conduct such as drug dealing, extortion, and armed robbery. Moreover, many of the weapons used by these groups are illegally purchased or stolen. The principal areas in which these criminal groups are active include the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, and East New York sections of Brooklyn, the Flushing and Corona sections of Queens, and the Park Hill section of Staten Island. The district's gun violence reduction strategy seeks to maximize the abilities of federal law enforcement and prosecuting agencies to work in close coordination with state and local law enforcement efforts. The hallmark of the district's strategy is the aggressive prosecution of violent organized crime groups and gangs, coupled with targeting and convicting firearms traffickers, "straw purchasers," armed career criminals and persons prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition. As part of this effort, the "Parole Violations Partnership Program," involving the New York Police Department and ATF, helps identify parolees with at least three previous felony convictions who continue to possess firearms. Existing strategies will be augmented by new community outreach programs by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Kings County District Attorney's Office and the New York City Police Department (NYPD). As part of the "Community ALERT" program, gang leaders and members in precincts that are experiencing an increase in violent crime will be subjected to the "pulling levers" strategy. ATF's recently created "Regional Gun Crime Center" in New York City will enhance the district's efforts to reduce gun violence.


The Northern District of New York's firearms violence reduction plan focuses on establishing "Regional Gun Violence Task Forces," supported by joint state and federal prosecution teams, in the district's two largest metropolitan areas, Syracuse and the greater Albany area. The initiative is called "PROJECT S.A.F.E.," for "Strategically Applied Firearms Enforcement." As ATF and other federal officers work with state and local authorities to investigate firearms trafficking and violent crime, teams of prosecutors will provide assistance on state and federal legal issues and determine whether the ends of justice are best served by prosecuting the case under New York or federal law. To allow for a flexible and efficient prosecution effort, each team consists of an experienced local Assistant District Attorney and an experienced Assistant U.S. Attorney, each of whom is cross-designated to prosecute cases in either state or federal court. ATF has committed to trace every crime weapon recovered by local law enforcement agencies to accurately determine the primary sources of illegal weapons in the district. The district will also focus efforts on training law enforcement, concentrating on methods through which each police agency may enhance its own ability to respond to crimes involving illegal firearms. A "Community Education Steering Committee" will also be formed in each area where a task force exists. Its goal will be to convey anti-gun violence, anti-gang, and gun safety messages to the community at large, and especially to youth.


The district's most successful strategy to reduce firearms violence has relied upon the use of racketeering laws to take out whole groups of demonstrably violent offenders. The incarceration of these gang members has led to dramatically decreased murder and shooting rates in the neighborhoods where the groups operated. The district has supplemented this approach, in conjunction with the District Attorney's Office, with targeted use of felon-in-possession laws, focusing on both offenders with violent pasts as well as places with high incidents of shootings. In addition, together with researchers at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the district is implementing the next stage of its firearms violence strategy in the Bronx, building upon previous success in that county. The team is identifying "hot" (actively violent) groups and "hot" areas (i.e. areas with high numbers of shootings), using both NYPD and ATF databases, as well as street information from investigators and the U.S. Attorney's Office's mapping system. All crime guns seized by the NYPD are traced through ATF's National Tracing Center. The district has begun a new program tracing all crime guns seized federally. By analyzing the source of crime guns (by using both trace and informant information), authorities are targeting sources of supply, including complicit licensed dealers. As in the Eastern District, ATF is involved with the NYPD in a "Parole Violations Partnership Program," to identify career criminals who continue to possess firearms.


The Western District of New York began its "Project Exile" initiative on September 29, 1998 in Rochester. As part of Rochester's Project Exile, two Monroe County Assistant District Attorneys are assigned to the U.S. Attorney's Office to assist with prosecuting firearms cases. One Assistant U.S. Attorney and one part-time paralegal are devoted to the program. A co-located, multi-agency federal and state "Firearms Task Force" is working full-time on investigating firearms cases, and Project Exile is developing into a true community-wide effort. Participating law enforcement agencies have joined with "Partners Against Violence Everywhere" (PAVE), a community anti-violence organization, and with the City of Rochester "Juvenile Justice Initiative," which includes prevention and early intervention programs such as "Nightwatch," "Ceasefire" and "Pathway to Peace." The project has a strong Community Board with wide community representation. Four city buses, posters, billboards, plastic supermarket bags and a TV media campaign are used to spread the Project Exile message throughout the community. Recently, HUD became a partner in the program. It appears that the Rochester Project Exile Program and Juvenile Justice Initiative are having a significant impact on violent crime in the Rochester community, as homicides have decreased by 35 percent, and exchanges of gunfire between armed criminals and the police have ceased. During the first year of the district's project, over 900 local and state law enforcement officers received training in crime gun tracing, search and seizure law, and the federal and state firearms statutes. With strong community support, the Project Exile initiative was expanded in the summer of 1999 to include Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The initiative in Buffalo will have one Assistant U.S. Attorney, one Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and one crime analyst devoted full-time to the program and will include a focus on crime mapping, a Project Exile media awareness campaign and additional law enforcement training.


The Eastern District of North Carolina comprises 44 counties and has 2.8 million residents. The district encompasses the state's ten most populous cities--including Raleigh, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Rocky Mount and Greenville--and also covers an extensive rural territory. Together with ATF's Raleigh, Fayetteville and Wilmington Field Offices, and with the assistance of state and local law enforcement and state government researchers--e.g., the Center for Prevention of School Violence, North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team, North Carolina Governor's Crime Commission, and North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics-the U.S. Attorney's Office has identified significant local trends in homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, school violence, juvenile homicides and assault against law enforcement officers, all committed with firearms. A disproportionate number of violent crimes occur in Wilmington, where armed robbery was identified as the most prevalent firearms violence problem. A broad coalition of federal, state and local government and law enforcement agencies including--in addition to the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF--DEA, FBI, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Divisions of Probation and Parole, police departments, the sheriff's and prosecutor's offices, HUD, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, have developed a strategy to reduce gun violence in Wilmington. The "Wilmington Initiative" is based on a model project in High Point, North Carolina which was modeled after Boston's "Operation Ceasefire." Multi-agency task forces already successfully operating in Fayetteville and Greenville will continue. Other components of the district-wide initiative include: (1) "Operation Denial," under which all NICS/Brady Act denials are investigated by ATF for possible referral for federal prosecution; (2) Project "GOOSE," the "Guns Out Of School Enforcement" project, in which students are educated about firearms injuries and violence, ATF is notified of all discoveries of guns on school property, the weapons recovered by local authorities are traced, and cases are referred to state and federal prosecutors; (3) the "Gun Tracing Enhancement Program," to improve the submission and quality of gun tracing data by local law enforcement; (4) the "Gun Show and Flea Markets Enforcement Enhancement Program," under which complaints by citizens and licensed gun dealers regarding the activities of illegal gun sellers are investigated; and (5) the use of "On-Line Lead," ATF's real-time gun-tracing data system.


The gun violence reduction strategy of the Middle District of North Carolina relies upon partnerships among numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, community groups and organizations, public and private entities, and others. The initiatives underlying the strategy include Weed and Seed, SACSI, and the "High Point Violent Crime Reduction Strategy," among others. The district analyzed a wide array of data from a variety of sources to understand its gun violence problem, which is mainly attributable to small neighborhood groups who use violence to promote criminal activity, such as narcotics violations, and which involve chronic offenders, felons-in-possession and juvenile offenders. The strategy derived from this data-driven approach has six components designed to: (1) identify the particular crime problem and those offenders causing the problem; (2) aggressively investigate and prosecute the most chronic offenders in federal and state court; (3) notify the remaining offenders of the community's future intolerance of violent acts and offer opportunities for them to leave their violent lifestyle; (4) coordinate the delivery of needed community resources; (5) develop and implement a comprehensive multi-agency response to further acts of violence; and (6) evaluate the strategy to see if it is making a difference, and adjust if necessary. As an example of the success of this strategy, since its implementation in late 1998, High Point has experienced an 86 percent reduction in gun homicides and a 49 percent reduction in all firearm offenses.


The Western District of North Carolina encompasses Charlotte, the state's most populous city, as well as large rural areas and the Cherokee Indian Reservation. In collaboration with state and local law enforcement, as well as community leaders, federal authorities in the district have developed a strategy to address youth gun violence and the use of guns in violent crimes and homicides. That strategy is focused on three "Ps": Prosecution, Police Training, and Prevention. The district relies on the existing violent crime task force to identify and refer for prosecution repeat violent offenders and individuals involved in gang activity. The strategy also calls for continuing existing programs, including comprehensive crime gun tracing, debriefing of arrestees, prevention programs, inspection of all new in-state applicants for federal firearms licenses, an increased law enforcement focus on gun shows and flea markets, and expanded use of ballistics information. Through a collaborative effort among federal, state and local law enforcement and community leaders, the district also is implementing the following strategies: 1) the "'High Powered' Firearm Reduction Initiative" to target criminal acts involving firearms in identified crime hot spot areas in Charlotte, under which identified individuals will be prosecuted and information about the results of the prosecutions will be disseminated within the community; 2) expanded federal investigative presence throughout the district to address gun violence; 3) law enforcement officer training in federal firearms laws, NICS and YCGII training and targeting; and 4) prevention and community education by law enforcement agencies, instructional classes within the community, and a "Kid with a gun, call 911" campaign.


Statistics suggest that North Dakota has a smaller incidence of gun violence than most states. Law enforcement officials believe that it is important for the citizens not to become complacent, however, and to do all they can to further reduce the gun violence in the state. Thus, although there has never been a documented instance of a shooting within a school in the state, the district's gun violence reduction plan is initially emphasizing school safety and prevention of any violence that may occur in the schools of North Dakota. In August 1999, in a collaborative effort between the North Dakota Attorney General, the Superintendent of North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, state and local law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's Office, the first "North Dakota Safe Schools Summit," was held, which is expected to be an annual event. The North Dakota Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney's Office also participated in a "Safe Futures Through Law-Related Education" Seminar presented by the North Dakota State Bar. The Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee for North Dakota is working with ATF to develop a conference devoted primarily to firearms violence. ATF is addressing firearms crimes with an emphasis on those that involve prohibited persons, narcotics, stolen firearms, FFL violations and straw purchasers.


In the Northern District of Ohio, weapons possession offenses make up the largest category of gun crimes. In Cleveland, assaults and robberies are a significant gun crime problem. A statistical analysis indicates that the central cities are the greatest source of gun crimes; no major gun crime problems are identified in the outlying suburbs. Accordingly, the district is concentrating its gun violence resources and efforts on the five most populous cities and counties. Cleveland participates in ATF's YCGII to detect and help interdict illegal gun trafficking. To complement the existing "Triggerlock Task Force," the U.S. Attorney's Office has appointed an anti-violent crime coordinator to facilitate case screening, so that cases are subjected to federal prosecution or state prosecution as appropriate. This joint law enforcement program is operating in Cleveland and Youngstown under the name "Operation Safe Neighborhoods." The district is also emphasizing enforcement of federal domestic violence laws, and will be expanding its community outreach efforts. Recently all local prosecutors and state judicial officers have been notified by the U.S. Attorney of the new disability provisions of the firearms laws relating to domestic violence and restraining orders. ATF has focused law enforcement resources on illegal firearms trafficking at the numerous gun shows held in the Cleveland area. Gun shows continue to be identified as a major source of undocumented gun sales in the district.


Violent criminal activity involving firearms in the Southern District of Ohio occurs primarily in the metropolitan areas of Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Illegal trafficking of firearms is also a problem, and primarily involves straw purchasers and unlicensed firearms dealing. The district's firearm violence reduction plan will therefore focus initially on Cincinnati and, once in place there, will be expanded to include Columbus and Dayton. The initiative will utilize comprehensive crime gun tracing and analysis, crime mapping, and coordinated law and regulatory enforcement efforts to identify "hot spots" for focus of law enforcement efforts and to identify offenders and illegal gun traffickers for prosecution. The plan further calls for intensified federal prosecution of individuals found illegally possessing firearms. The U.S. Attorney's Office, in conjunction with ATF, will offer training to local law enforcement officers throughout the district on the federal statutes available to combat those who buy or carry firearms illegally, as well as those who commit violent crimes or drug offenses while armed. The U.S. Attorney's Office will coordinate with local prosecutors to determine which cases are appropriate for federal prosecution. The district is in the process of instituting an intensive prosecution initiative in Cincinnati. The U.S. Attorney's Office, ATF, the Cincinnati Police Department, the city's Public Safety Director and County Prosecutor will participate in this initiative. The district's plan calls for further intensifying and expanding federal prosecution of individuals who illegally possess firearms.


The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma has collaborated with ATF and other federal law enforcement agencies, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies and the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office to formulate a multi-faceted plan to reduce gun violence. The plan calls for the use of comprehensive crime gun tracing, crime gun information and ballistics to identify violent offenders and illegal gun traffickers. The district has determined that many of the firearms used by gang members in the Tulsa area are acquired illegally at gun shows, and therefore will target such illegal dealings at gun shows. The U.S. Attorney's Office will coordinate with the local District Attorneys to screen cases appropriate for federal referral. The district has a violent crimes task force that targets repeat violent offenders for federal prosecution. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney's Office has expanded a project in which hardened juvenile violent offenders are brought to court to watch the sentencing of federal firearms offenders. Federal judges, members of the Department of Corrections and the Gang Unit of the Police Department have participated in presentations connected to these sentencings, and the district now plans to take the presentations directly to the schools. The district is also initiating a media campaign oriented toward communicating the message that federal punitive sanctions are severe, and that the penalties are designed to deter and incapacitate violent offenders.


The Eastern District of Oklahoma is a large, predominantly rural district, with substantial gun violence and gun crime. Gun ownership is widespread. The state has a concealed weapon law that prohibits local communities from passing any "law or ordinance" to restrict the sale or use of firearms. The U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF have developed a two-tier plan to address firearms violence in the district. This plan is called "Project E.V.I.C.T." ("End Violence in Communities Today"). Because federal law enforcement resources in the district are very limited-only one ATF agent is assigned to cover the district-the plan relies heavily on federal authorities working closely with all local District Attorney's Offices and state law enforcement offices, so that local investigative and prosecutorial resources can support and compliment federal efforts. First, the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF will educate law enforcement authorities and local prosecutors in each of the district's 26 counties to identify firearms cases that involve armed career criminals for review by ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office and possible federal prosecution. The district plan's second phase calls for the U.S. Attorney's Office, ATF, local police agencies and community leaders to identify selected neighborhoods with recent violent crimes involving firearms for targeted enforcement action. All career criminals within the neighborhood will be identified and warned they risk federal prosecution if they are arrested in possession of a firearm. These individuals will also be told of the communities resources that are available in the way of job training, drug rehabilitation and employment.


The Western District of Oklahoma includes over half of the state's area and population. The district launched its version of "Project Exile" in February 2000. Through this effort the U.S. Attorney's Office, the ATF, the State Attorney General's Office, the District Attorney for the Oklahoma City metro area and the Oklahoma City Police Department are working even more closely than before to identify the gun cases where federal prosecution is advantageous and appropriate. Recent changes in state law will effectively increase sentences for armed robbery but have left sentences for other gun crimes unchanged. Using its crime mapping technology, the police department has identified the city's gun hot spots, and efforts are underway to have the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center analyze offender characteristics and other trends from these areas with the goal of developing a "pulling levers" strategy later this year. Special attention is being given to Oklahoma City's Weed and Seed area, which is one of the hot spots. A Project Exile publicity campaign has been developed which includes public service ads, billboards, and an "Exile of the Week" feature story on a local television station. ATF has worked with the police department to greatly increase the tracing of crime guns and has established a liaison with the Oklahoma City Public Schools to ensure that all guns recovered at a school are traced.


The District of Oregon's integrated gun violence reduction plan implements, on a statewide basis, strategies that were successfully developed and deployed in Portland. The district has a task force that targets criminals who use firearms in violent crimes, and a "Youth Gun Anti-Violence Task Force," which targets particular violent gun offenders and interdicts the illegal supply of firearms to the criminal element. ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office coordinate law enforcement efforts and charging decisions with state prosecutors in order to maximize the impact of legal tools available under federal and state law and to ensure the efficient use of scarce resources. Other elements of the district's strategy include: coordinating the seizure of illegally possessed firearms and the apprehension of gun criminals; using integrated teams of police, parole and probation officers to intervene and deter; having outreach workers serve as mentors for high-risk youth in their neighborhoods; engaging many assets of the local communities, such as public officials, community leaders, business owners, public school officials, the clergy and private citizens, in an effort to provide youth with a full range of employment, extracurricular and other opportunities; engaging front-line professionals in the development of crime reduction strategies that are "ahead of the curve"; integrating local research and academic expertise in the development of practical and effective crime reduction strategies; and establishing and funding a working group to address issues of ethnic disparities in the local criminal justice system, to review crime reduction strategies and programs for cultural relevance and appropriateness, and to ensure that ethnic communities have a voice in the development of culturally appropriate crime reduction policies and strategies.


In response to Philadelphia's extraordinary rate of firearms violence (the highest rate of homicide by firearm of the country's ten largest cities), the district developed a comprehensive plan of attack on firearms offenses, called "Operation Cease Fire." The U.S. Attorney's Office created a new Firearms Unit, staffed by three Assistant U.S. Attorneys and two cross-designated Assistant District Attorneys. The Unit is supported by an investigatory task force, consisting of ATF, U.S. Marshals Service and state and local police. The Firearms Unit focuses on cases throughout the district, primarily felons-in-possession who are armed career criminals or have significant prior records, firearms traffickers, drug traffickers using firearms and straw purchasers. In the first year of Operation Cease Fire, the district raised its number of federal firearms indictments from 62 in 1998 to 231 in 1999, charging 291 defendants. Operation Cease Fire includes a local and federal "alternative prosecution" program, aimed at increasing the disposition of firearms cases by the city courts with appropriate sentences. In this program, the District Attorney's Office offers certain firearms offenders the opportunity to plead guilty to a sentence of incarceration considerably greater than what the state courts ordinarily impose, in lieu of referral for federal prosecution. Operation Cease Fire has also enhanced the identification and prosecution of gun trafficking organizations through systematic debriefing by the Philadelphia Police Department of all persons arrested with a firearm about the source of their guns, combined with ATF's crime gun tracing analysis. The district has also developed a public education campaign to warn potential offenders about the severity of federal sanctions for firearms offenses.


The Middle District of Pennsylvania consists of 33 contiguous counties in central Pennsylvania, extending from the New York state line on the north to the Maryland state line on the south. The district is larger but less populated than the two other federal judicial districts in the state, with more than 370 state and local police forces. The district has historically emphasized working closely with state and local law enforcement to target violent offenders and firearms traffickers for federal prosecution. The district's firearms violence reduction plan calls for the addition of three key elements: (1) preventing criminal recidivists and traffickers from illegally obtaining access to firearms through federal and state collaboration to assure the referral of appropriate cases involving attempted firearms acquisitions; (2) promoting education, training and information sharing regarding firearms violence through a three-phase training program that includes mass distribution of training materials regarding firearms to all police departments in the district, a police training seminar to provide more intensive training and updates on federal resources, and the promotion of the use of NIBIN by all state and local police agencies which receive crime guns; and (3) prosecuting criminal recidivists and those who engage in firearms offenses or firearms-related violence in federal courts. The district is conducting outreach efforts to all state and local law enforcement agencies, District Attorneys, state parole officials, county probation offices and county drug task forces to assure the referral of appropriate cases for federal prosecution.


In "Operation TARGET" ("Taking Aim to Reduce Gun Violence and End Trafficking"), the Western District of Pennsylvania is combining a prosecutorial focus on repeat violent offenders and violent drug traffickers with an innovative series of programs to attack illicit gun trafficking. The initiative is implementing a targeted deterrence approach to investigate and prosecute the most serious violent offenders in the community, as identified by a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement. The faculty at Carnegie Mellon University is assisting the task force by providing important gun tracing data and crime mapping capabilities. At the same time, Operation TARGET has greatly expanded the district's investigation and prosecution of illicit gun traffickers. The U.S. Attorney's Office, in cooperation with the ATF, is using trace data and other investigative information to identify FFLs, employees of FFLs, and private individuals who are suspected of engaging in trafficking. The U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF have also launched a cooperative program to work with participating FFLs to detect illicit trafficking and deter straw purchases. In addition, Operation TARGET is employing a public awareness campaign to inform offenders of the serious consequences of violating federal and state gun laws and to educate the public, especially youth, about the effects of gun violence. ATF has funded a full-time City of Pittsburgh police officer to provide gang resistance information and training to middle school and high school students as part of ATF's national GREAT Program. Finally, Operation TARGET has brought together a broad base of partners outside of law enforcement--including political, religious, corporate and community leaders--to further the initiative's enforcement goals and to connect prospective offenders with specific prevention and education programs.


The District of Puerto Rico encompasses approximately 3,500 square miles, and is home to approximately 3.7 million people. It is the major port of entry for people entering the United States from most nations in the Caribbean and from South America. It is also the primary Caribbean drug transhipment point from South America to the United States mainland. As a result, Puerto Rico has a high incidence of violent crime related to drug trafficking or consumption. Many of the district's crime guns come from Florida, and many have their serial numbers obliterated. The district's gun violence reduction strategy emphasizes the use of crime gun tracing and ballistics technology as investigative techniques. The district also prosecutes aggressively all drug-related murder cases and other violent crimes involving firearms. The U.S. Attorney's Office is actively pursuing multiple defendant cases involving violent gangs.


The District of Rhode Island has an active and aggressive program for investigating, prosecuting and reducing violent crime throughout the district. The program includes a coordinated effort with all major federal law enforcement agencies, as well as state and local police departments, to identify problem areas and develop solutions to those problems. The gun violence reduction plan draws upon various existing programs, including "Operation Triggerlock" and the state's gun court program. In addition, ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office are focusing attention on investigating and prosecuting cases under the federal statutes prohibiting false statements in connection with the attempted acquisition of a firearm. The district will investigate and prosecute all appropriate cases in which the would-be purchaser has a violent or drug felony conviction, a qualifying domestic violence protection order or misdemeanor conviction, or appears to be making purchases for resale to others likely to be involved in violent crime.


South Carolina's firearms violence problem continues to be linked to narcotics trafficking, gang activity and domestic disputes. The state is also a source state for interstate firearms trafficking. South Carolina fights firearms violence in a number of ways. South Carolina has a "one gun a month" law, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division maintains a registry of state handgun purchases, which allows ATF to identify illegal firearms markets. Together with federal prosecutors, ATF targets pawnshops with high numbers of crime guns traces for investigation and prosecution. The district is also encouraging comprehensive crime gun tracing and the use of ballistics information. The local ATF office has established a protocol with its counterpart in New York so that crime guns recovered in New York that were purchased in South Carolina are identified, and investigations are handled jointly. The U.S. Attorney's Office and the state prosecutor's office work closely together to promptly identify cases appropriate for federal prosecution. In response to a wave of domestic murders, the U.S. Attorney's Office has begun vigorously prosecuting cases involving possession of firearms by persons subject to a restraining order, and cases involving false statements made in the attempted purchase of a firearm by a prohibited person.


The District of South Dakota is largely rural, and has a history of hunting and ready access to firearms. The state has not seen a dramatic increase in firearms violence and there has been little evidence of gang activity involving firearms. Many crimes involving firearms stem from the accessibility of firearms during an altercation or in connection with domestic violence. In addition, there is concern in the district about school violence and firearms safety, as law enforcement officials report an increase in events where younger individuals brandished firearms or students brought weapons to school. There have also been a number of incidents each year where minors are wounded or killed by firearms left unsecured in homes. Historically, both state and federal prosecutors have aggressively prosecuted firearms offenses. As part of its firearms violence reduction plan, the district is expanding upon its existing programs by enhancing prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922 (g)(7) and (g)(8), to address the issue of domestic violence involving firearms, and of offenses involving illegal transfers of handguns to minors. The district also is focusing efforts on preventing school violence and promoting gun safety in the household.


The Eastern District of Tennessee is the largest of the three federal judicial districts in the state, and contains 41 of the state's 95 counties. Approximately 2.2 million people reside in the district, with roughly 67 percent of the population concentrated in three metropolitan areas, Knoxville, Chattanooga and the tri-cities area of Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City. A substantial portion of the district is rural. The leading sources of gun violence are inner-city drug dealers and loosely affiliated gang members. Incidents of gun violence include drive-by shootings arising from turf battles and retaliation, robbery- and drug theft-related shootings, and gun violence associated with protection of drug trafficking activities. In addition, armed bank robberies continue to be a significant source of gun violence in the Chattanooga area. The district's gun violence reduction plan continues and expands several successful approaches, including: (1) using task forces to coordinate federal, state and local law enforcement efforts to screen all defendants arrested with firearms for potential federal prosecution and to trace all firearms obtained by local law enforcement; (2) holding semiannual federal, state and local law enforcement intelligence analysis meetings in five regions within the district to identify violent organizations and violent individuals who need to be targeted for federal prosecution; (3) having semiannual comprehensive violent crime surveys for all law enforcement agencies to help identify violent crime problems and direct resources to appropriate targets; (4) promoting information gathering and sharing about gangs and gang activities; (5) educating students about firearms and promoting zero tolerance for guns in schools through law enforcement efforts; (6) using ATF's firearms industry compliance efforts, crime gun trace analysis, investigative resources and ballistics information to identify and investigate illegal traffickers of firearms and those who criminally misuse firearms; and (7) educating private and public groups on hate crimes and offenses under the Violence Against Women Act.


The Middle District of Tennessee is home to the state's largest city, its capital and health care center, Nashville. The district has experienced incredible population growth-including a burgeoning immigrant population-which has contributed to an alarming increase in the violent crime rate. Three major interstate systems converging in Nashville have served as a pipeline for drugs and violent gang activity into the area. In an effort to address this problem, the U.S. Attorney's Office joined with the Metro Nashville Police Department, ATF and other federal and local agencies in July 1998 to reduce homicides and other violence. As a part of this continuing initiative, three local police officers were assigned full time to ATF in an effort to reduce availability of firearms to criminals and to provide intelligence on illegal firearms trafficking. Every gun taken off the street by the Metro Police is traced through ATF's gun trace system. As a result of this initiative, the homicide rate has been significantly reduced. Additionally, the district's gun violence reduction plan includes: (1) monthly meetings with local police captains and federal law enforcement officers to target and address violent crime issues; (2) a "Persistent Offender Program," which targets 50 of the most violent and repeat offenders in the Nashville area; (3) regular meetings with local District Attorneys to ensure that offenders are being prosecuted in the most appropriate jurisdiction; (4) educating private and public groups on reducing hate crime; (5) educating students about firearms in schools; and (6) using ATF's crime gun trace analysis, investigative resources and ballistics information to identify and investigate illegal firearms traffickers and those who criminally misuse firearms.


Recognizing the importance of inter-agency cooperation in battling violent crimes, including investigations of firearms violations, the Western District of Tennessee emphasizes the use of a multi-agency violent crime task force. In 1990, it formed a "Triggerlock Task Force" to assure federal prosecution in appropriate cases involving armed career criminals, felons-in- possession and other adult criminals. In 1995, to combat the rising number of juvenile firearms offenders, the violent crime task force was reorganized and expanded to include "Operation Ceasefire," under which numerous local and federal law enforcement entities have been joined by representatives from the Juvenile Court System and Memphis City Schools. In 1998, the task force sought to adopt a data-driven approach to strategically target law enforcement and community resources, and the University of Memphis' Department of Criminology joined Operation Ceasefire. The District has initiated comprehensive crime gun tracing through ATF's YCGII Program, including debriefing 100 percent of juvenile firearms offenders, as well as crime mapping to identify "hot spots." The district also has a "Safe Streets Task Force" to investigate armed bank robberies, armored car robberies and armed carjackings. The district's gun violence reduction plan includes: (1) vigorous investigation and prosecution of firearms violations, including a "Zero Tolerance Policy on Possessing Firearms in a School Zone"; (2) strategic targeting of resources; (3) coordinated enforcement targeting of the illegal purchase and sale of firearms, including cross-training for task force members; (4) collaboration with probation and parole officials to implement the "pulling levers" strategy to reduce recidivism; and (5) community involvement, including school-based gun violence and firearms safety education efforts.


The population of the Eastern District of Texas exceeds 2.6 million people, who live in 43 counties that span over 400 miles. Much of the violent crime in the district is attributable to drug-related violence including drive-by shootings, armed robberies, home burglaries, drug-related homicides, gang violence and various property crimes. Federal authorities in the district have historically enjoyed an excellent working relationship with all local law enforcement entities in the district and the U.S. Attorney's Office has worked collaboratively with local District Attorneys to vigorously prosecute firearms offenders. The district's firearms violence reduction strategy will initially focus its efforts in the Beaumont and Tyler areas, using existing task forces. Key elements of the plan include: (1) regular meetings with local District Attorneys, ATF and FBI agents, and federal prosecutors to ensure that appropriate cases are referred for federal prosecution; (2) training on federal firearms violations for local prosecutors; and (3) collaboration between the state's four U.S. Attorneys and the Texas Attorney General to discuss implementing a statewide firearms violence reduction education program. Two Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys have been hired to prosecute gun cases on the federal and state level in conjunction with the "Operation Texas Exile" gun violence reduction program. Additionally, the district will explore creative options to target individuals that use or sell firearms illegally, and ATF is focusing enforcement efforts on illegal firearms trafficking at the large numbers of gun shows and flea markets that occur in the district.


The Northern District of Texas is geographically and demographically diverse, making a broad characterization of the gun violence problem difficult. Nevertheless, armed robbery is the most widespread form of gun violence in the district. Other sources of gun violence stem from drug trafficking organizations and from loosely-knit groups of neighborhood hoodlums engaging in opportunistic crime. The district's gun violence reduction strategy is based on the aggressive investigation and prosecution of federal firearms violations in all parts of the district, including an intensive prosecution program known as "Safe City, USA." It also employs a zero tolerance policy with regard to probationers, parolees and defendants on supervised release who unlawfully possess firearms. The district's plan also incorporates program initiatives in major cities to allow the detection, apprehension and prosecution of those who commit firearms offenses. The programs include screening by ATF of local cases involving a firearm recovery or gun violence, crime gun tracing, debriefing of juvenile offenders apprehended with a firearm, community outreach and law enforcement training. The district also has a violent crime initiative, in which ATF and HUD target armed violent criminals in Dallas public housing.


The Southern District of Texas is one of the largest of the 94 federal judicial districts, covering over 14,000 square miles with a population in excess of 6 million people. The district has adopted a comprehensive, district-wide strategy with region-specific programs developed in conjunction with local law enforcement and community leaders in each region. The initiative's key elements include enhanced enforcement, focused intervention measures and community prevention efforts. The goal is to have a sustained impact on gun violence through coordinated prevention and early intervention programs that reinforce enhanced enforcement of gun laws. The enforcement strategy is to prosecute felons in possession of firearms and other gun offenders under federal law, regardless of the arresting agency. Through "Operation Texas Exile," the Texas Attorney General urged state prosecutors to coordinate intake procedures with U.S. Attorneys and to ensure that ATF is consulted in all firearms cases at an early stage. The state funds two prosecutors who serve as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys to prosecute the increase in federal firearms offenses. The community-based prevention and intervention component draws upon the established public safety programs of Weed and Seed, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's "Comprehensive Strategy" and the state's Community Youth Development program. The state will fund technical assistance to communities in the district to promote community awareness and participation through regional action plans. It is anticipated that gun violence prevention and early intervention strategies can be most effective when they are supported by existing regional public safety plans. The district's Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee sponsors ATF gun tracing training for local law enforcement agencies as part of YCGII. The Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee provides additional education through a training grant from the Community Oriented Policing Service Office to deliver community policing training programs to school and college campus-based law enforcement agencies. The community technical assistance will be provided by Fox Valley Technical College.


Recently, the State of Texas initiated "Operation Texas Exile," which will provide two District Attorneys and an assistant State Attorney General to serve as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, acting as points of contact and coordinators to screen appropriate police referrals for federal prosecution and prosecute appropriate cases in federal court, as well as identify appropriate cases for state prosecution where state laws may be most effective. This project will complement the gun violence strategy of the Western District of Texas, which includes: (1) aggressively investigating and prosecuting convicted felons caught in possession of firearms; (2) adopting state narcotics cases that support filing charges of using or carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime; (3) working closely with state and local agencies to target identified violent gangs; (4) implementing a training program for state and local law enforcement officers about federal statutes and penalties that may be applicable to certain offenders, including firearms offenses, drug trafficking offenses and circumstances that trigger enhanced penalties; (5) working with state District Attorneys throughout the district to encourage referral of appropriate firearms prosecutions for federal prosecution where federal penalties are likely to be more effective than state penalties; and (6) identifying, investigating and prosecuting cases in which violent offenders made false statements in the attempt to acquire a firearm.


Gun violence in Utah is most prevalent in the state's five most densely-populated counties, commonly known as the "Wasatch Front." Particular problems include an increasing number of assault weapons in the district, access to guns by prohibited persons, youth gangs, drug-related firearms users (particularly those involved in producing and selling methamphetamine) and increasing numbers of incidents of domestic violence involving the use of an illegally-possessed firearm. Through a cooperative agreement with the Salt Lake County District Attorney and ATF, the District of Utah has initiated "Project CUFF," Utah's new gun initiative. Gun violations are jointly screened by an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and an ATF agent. All appropriate cases are referred for federal prosecution.


The District of Vermont's efforts to combat firearms violence in the state are shaped by two realities. First, federal law enforcement has a unique responsibility to combat the acquisition and possession of firearms by criminals in Vermont because the state has no laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by persons prohibited under federal law. Second, the most pervasive form of violent crime in the state results from domestic disputes. The district's strategy focuses on bolstering the resources available to combat violent crime and increasing the coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement. The district's strategy will seek and deploy additional investigative resources and foster renewed collaboration among ATF, state and local law enforcement.


Prosecuting firearms-related offenses--both violent firearm offenses and regulatory offenses--is a high priority for federal authorities in the District of the Virgin Islands. Although the territorial firearms laws in the Virgin Islands are among the most restrictive of any U.S. jurisdiction, the Virgin Islands has experienced an increase in drug-related violent crime, which has created a significant demand among drug traffickers for firearms, particularly large capacity semiautomatic weapons. To combat this problem, in accordance with a 1995 MOU with the territorial prosecutor, all territorial firearms-related offenses for which the U.S. Attorney's Office exercises concurrent jurisdiction are referred for federal prosecution. Despite its relatively small size, the U.S. Attorney's Office also has developed an extremely active public outreach effort, part of which seeks to stem the tide of violent crime by taking a proactive, preventive stance and by providing positive role models. The district plans to expand its public outreach effort to emphasize the deterrence of violent firearms offenses. ATF and local HIDTA agents, in cooperation with the Virgin Islands Police Department, are initiating a strategy to identify and trace all crime guns seized by local law enforcement. The U.S. Attorney's Office has hosted a series of meetings between ATF and local law enforcement representatives in an effort to develop a federal-territorial task force devoted exclusively to the investigation of firearms-related cases, but such a task force has been hindered by the lack of territorial law enforcement personnel. Territorial chamber-of-commerce representatives have started forming a support network for the task force based upon the "Project Exile" model.


In 1997, in response to Richmond's rising homicide rates, the Eastern District of Virginia developed and initiated "Project Exile." The goal of Project Exile was to reduce gun violence by changing the culture of violence in Richmond using a comprehensive, multi-dimensional strategy, which includes a law enforcement/prosecution effort as well as community outreach and education programs. The law enforcement/prosecution strategy sought to bring cases involving felons with guns, armed drug dealers, and armed domestic violence offenders in Richmond into federal court, to take advantage of the bond rules and sentencing guidelines that were stiffer than those in the state system. The project has fully integrated and coordinated local police, state police, federal ATF and FBI investigators, and local and federal prosecutors, to promptly arrest, incarcerate, detain without bond, prosecute and sentence the armed criminal. An essential component of the project has been an innovative community outreach and education effort through various media to get the message to the criminals about this crackdown, and build a coalition directed to the problem. The coalition has funded a creative advertising campaign, including TV and radio commercials, billboards, a city bus fully painted in black with the logo "An Illegal Gun Gets You 5 Years in Federal Prison," business cards with this message distributed on the street by local police, and print advertising. The outreach program has been hugely successful, increasing citizen reports about guns and energizing the community to support police efforts. Because of demonstrated results in reducing gun homicides in Richmond, the U.S. Attorney's Office has expanded Project Exile to the Tidewater area of Virginia, and is committed to continuing Project Exile as long as the need exists. In 1999, new legislation was passed in Virginia to make state laws more comparable to federal laws on bond and gun offenses, and the district will work with the Commonwealth's Attorney to have appropriate gun cases prosecuted in local courts. The Eastern District of Virginia also has local, state and federal task forces which investigate homicide and violent drug gangs. These investigations have resulted in federal prosecutions of individuals responsible for scores of homicides in this district.


The Western District of Virginia has few large cities, a significant rural geography and a location along a major firearms trafficking pipeline. The most serious gun violence problems in the district arise from illegal possession of firearms by felons, especially in connection with drug activity. Another significant problem is related to gun violence by persons who have been previously convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. Using statistical analysis, the district has worked with localities to identify those communities that would most benefit from federal attention. In one such community, an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney has been appointed a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to handle firearms cases in federal court. This assistant is responsible for a domestic violence unit in his office and will identify appropriate cases of possession of firearms by persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence for federal prosecution.


The Eastern District of Washington consists of 20 counties east of the Cascade mountain range and shares 182 miles of border with Canada. Spokane is the largest city in the district, and federal investigation and prosecution of violent gang members has been a top priority in the Spokane area. Street intelligence suggests that this has had a noticeable impact, including causing some gang members to leave the area. The federal focus on gang members has also had the effect of increasing the number of state convictions for drug and firearms offenses by gang members. ATF recently committed to enhancing its existing collaboration with state and local gang units by assigning one of its agents to work directly with the city gang investigation unit of the Spokane Police Department. An increased emphasis on crime gun tracing in the district will enable law enforcement officials to target resources more effectively. In addition, to prevent school firearms violence, the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF, in cooperation with state and local law enforcement agencies, the local prosecutors office, and school officials, formed a joint task force. The goal of the "Coordinated Response for Prevention and Intervention of Juvenile Violence in Spokane County Schools" is to maintain a violence-free school system by preventing school violence and ensuring swift accountability for violations.


Gun violence in the Western District of Washington stems predominately from street gangs and drug dealers engaged in drive-by shootings, gang rivalries and methamphetamine trafficking. The communities most affected by this violence are the City of Lakewood near Tacoma and the Ranier Valley-White Center areas of Seattle. An integral part of the district's gun violence reduction plan is greater coordination with local authorities through the King County Violent Firearms Crime Coalition, whose mission is to measurably reduce the incidence of firearms crimes in King County. The Coalition includes representatives from the King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO), 13 KCSO contract cities, the King County Police Chiefs Association, youth and adult detention centers, the Washington Department of Corrections, the King County Prosecutor's Office, ATF, FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. The Coalition's program includes a multi-jurisdictional approach to the apprehension and prosecution of firearms violators, coordination with federal and state corrections, on-going training of law enforcement, prosecution, and corrections personnel, and community outreach and education. Seattle participates in ATF's YCGII to ensure comprehensive crime gun tracing, and the district is encouraging enhanced use of ballistics technology and information. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF will be co-sponsors of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) gun investigation training course.


The largely rural Northern District of West Virginia has experienced firearms violence associated with illegal drug activity. There are also occasional incidents involving the use of guns in domestic violence disputes and in schools. West Virginia is also a source state for gun traffickers, and has a significant problem with straw purchasers. In addition, state firearms laws are extremely weak and provide no significant penalties for persons convicted of firearms violations in state courts. The district has implemented a multi-faceted approach to reducing gun violence which includes training, coordination and prosecution. Through training, federal authorities hope to assist state and local law enforcement in more thorough investigations of firearms offenses, and encourage them to develop and present cases for federal prosecution. ATF will train all FFLs regarding compliance with the firearms laws, and FFLs with high trafficking indicators will be targeted for prosecution. Through enhanced coordination, the U.S. Attorney's Office, ATF, and state and local law enforcement will target career criminals and corrupt FFLs, to ensure that they are prosecuted and receive the maximum available penalties. The U.S. Attorney's Office is also implementing a targeted deterrence effort, aimed at males age 18-25, and ATF is implementing comprehensive crime gun tracing.


The Southern District of West Virginia has a significant number of convicted felons using firearms in property crimes or crimes of violence. The city of Beckley, West Virginia, has the fastest growing crime rate in the state and has become a hub for illegal narcotics traffickers. In addition, firearms trafficking from West Virginia to many northeastern cities is an emerging problem. As part of the district's firearms violence reduction plan, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and ATF are focusing new efforts on Beckley/Raleigh County and the West Side and East End of the city of Charleston. In particular, ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office are cooperating closely with local law enforcement to identify potential federal firearms cases, educate investigators regarding the statutes under which federal prosecutions can be made and expand comprehensive crime gun tracing. The district is identifying and investigating for federal prosecution prohibited persons in possession of firearms -such as felons and perpetrators of domestic violence-persons violating the law when procuring firearms, and persons illegally providing firearms to prohibited persons, particularly those firearms subsequently involved in crimes. The district is also performing community outreach for domestic firearms violence prevention. ATF also plans to target pawnshops in Beckley engaged in illegal firearms trafficking.


Together with ATF, the Milwaukee District Attorney's office, and state and local law enforcement, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin is implementing "Milwaukee Ceasefire,"designed to reduce the illegal possession and use of guns in Milwaukee. The first component of Milwaukee Ceasefire is a task force devoted to the investigation of all felony and misdemeanor firearms offenses. The task force also shares intelligence on illegal drug and firearms markets. Milwaukee has a comprehensive crime gun tracing program under ATF's YCGII, which the district is working to extend county-wide. The second component is a substantial increase in the number of state firearms cases adopted for federal prosecution, to take advantage of the comparatively stiff sentencing and parole provisions of federal firearms law. Two full-time Assistant District Attorneys are provided by the state and are cross-designated as full-time Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys. The third component provides four new Assistant District Attorneys to intensify prosecution of gun cases in the newly created "State Speedy Trial Gun Court," which will handle state misdemeanor and felony gun cases within 60 days of initial appearance. The fourth component of Milwaukee's Ceasefire is a media campaign using television, radio, billboards and buses to convey a deterrence message.


The key component of the gun violence reduction plan for the Western District of Wisconsin is enhanced collaboration among all levels of law enforcement. Although federal, state, and local law enforcement officials within the district communicate regularly and actively prosecute a wide range of firearms cases, federal authorities plan to enhance that cooperation. The U.S. Attorney's Office has engaged in outreach to all law enforcement agencies in the district to increase opportunities for appropriate federal adoption of firearms cases. The district also has conducted a training program for law enforcement officers to help reduce illegal firearms trafficking, and ATF will provide statewide training on firearms violations. ATF will also encourage the metropolitan police departments to implement comprehensive crime gun tracing to more strategically target law enforcement resources.


The District of Wyoming has high rates of domestic violence throughout the state, combined with high rates of firearms ownership. According to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the ATF field office in Cheyenne, the majority of weapons offenses stem from drug investigations and crimes of domestic violence. Whereas federal sentences for firearms convictions carry relatively heavy penalties and require that most of the time sentenced be served, state firearms convictions typically carry shorter sentences and require a smaller percentage of time to be served prior to release. As part of an arrangement with state and local prosecutors and federal, state and local law enforcement, the majority of firearms offenses are referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office. To address the scarcity of resources available to address firearms violations throughout the state, ATF is seeking to have local law enforcement officers assigned to the ATF field office to serve as liaisons between ATF and the local agencies on adopted cases, allowing ATF agents to focus on long-term, complex cases. ATF also plans to enhance its inspections of federal firearms dealers to cut down on illegal firearms trafficking.