While President Obama decries gun violence and presses for more laws to restrict ownership, his Justice Department has prosecuted 25 percent fewer cases referred by the main law enforcement agency charged with reducing firearms violence across the country, a computer analysis of U.S. prosecution data shows.
Federal prosecutors brought a total of 5,082 gun violation cases in 2013 recommended by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, compared with 6,791 during the last year of George W. Bush's presidency in 2008, according to data obtained from the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys. The 2013 totals represent a 42 percent decline from the record number of 8,752 prosecutions of ATF cases brought by the Justice Department in 2004 under Mr. Bush, according to the data.
Wow. That's nearly half. Why the big plummet in prosecution numbers? Well, its like this:
"Within the later part of the Bush years, case selections within the ATF have gone from mostly violent crime cases — which is their forte — toward the regulatory, where they look at dealers, manufacturers and trafficking cases," said Robert Sanders, a former ATF assistant director. "The agency's philosophy has shifted to guns are the problem and access to guns are the problem, rather than the criminal being the direct indicator of crime."
Current ATF agents, who spoke to The Times only on the condition of anonymity because of fears of retaliation, said the Justice Department has become risk-averse under Mr. Obama, especially after the Fast and Furious scandal. "The current climate within ATF is: 'Let's take a step back and not go after too many hard-hitting violent crime cases that use informants or undercover agents," one ATF agent said. "We can't just go it alone anymore, or even lead a case. We need buy-in from everybody: local law enforcement, other agencies. Then, and only then, are we able to sell it internally and will the U.S. attorney come onboard."
Really they cut prosecutions to stay out of the newspapers. My evil mind also says this is punishment from Barry being visited upon the ATF leadership because they made him look bad. Your agency isn't allowed to lead a case? That's Punishment with a capital "P" in the US Law Enforcement Universe. It means the Big Boss thinks you're too stupid to be trusted with the car keys.