Describes trends associated with the prosecution of firearm offenders in U.S. district courts between 1992 and 1999. In addition, this report describes charge bargaining practices by U.S. attorneys; offenders charged with unlawfully receiving or transferring a firearm; sentences imposed for firearm offenses -- including statutory and sentencing guideline enhancements for firearms use; and the source of firearms used by Federal inmates during the offense for which they were imprisoned.
- Between 1992 and 1996 the number of defendants charged with a firearm offense decreased 19%. It remained at this lower level through 1997 before increasing in 1998 and 1999.
- The decrease in firearm prosecutions is partially attributable to a Supreme Court decision which limited prosecutors' ability to charge defendants with using a firearm during a violent or drug offense.
- 41% of defendants charged with a firearm offense were prosecuted in the 20 most populous Federal judicial districts; these districts accounted for about half of all arrests nationwide by State and local agencies for violent and drug offenses.