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Metro denver federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors come together to enforce firearm laws with goal to prevent summer of firearm violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2013

DENVER – Agencies from across Metro Denver have come together in an effort to prevent firearm violence this summer, the group announced today.  The effort, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as well as federal and state prosecutors, will focus on firearm violations.  The goal is to reduce gun crime.

The agencies involved in the Metro Denver Firearm Initiative include: The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Aurora Police Department, the Denver Police Department, the Lakewood Police Department, the Arapahoe and Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, the Adams County District Attorney’s Office, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

These law enforcement agencies and prosecutors will work closely together to review gun crime investigations to determine which venue, federal court or state court, has the most severe prison sentence.  Based on that analysis, charges will be filed in the venue with the toughest penalties. 

“We have assembled a strong team to investigate and prosecute firearm violations,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “It is our goal to reduce gun crime by focusing on the worst of the worst in Metro Denver who possess or use firearms.”

The penalties can be severe.  In federal court, a prohibited person in possession of a firearm faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.  Those who cannot possess firearms include: felons, illegal aliens, those addicted to drugs, and those adjudicated mentally ill.  Also, if someone is the subject of a restraining order, or if they have a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence they are also prohibited from possessing a firearm.  If a defendant has three prior violent felony convictions or drug trafficking offenses, the defendant could be sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal.  Armed Career Criminals face not less than 15 years and up to life in prison.

In addition to those who are prohibited from possessing a firearm, there are other crimes that have increased penalties for firearm possession and use. 

*          If someone uses or carries a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum of 5 years in federal prison consecutive to any other sentence.

*          If someone possesses a firearm during a crime of violence, they also face a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison consecutive to any other sentence. 

*          If a person brandishes a firearm during a crime of violence or during a drug trafficking crime, the penalty goes to a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison consecutive to any other sentence.

*          If a person discharges a weapon during a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison consecutive to any other sentence. 

In each of these cases, the penalty goes up to life in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.

If someone has information about a prohibited person carrying a firearm, or the illegal use of a firearm, please call your local police department, or 911 if it is an emergency.  You can also reach the ATF at 800-800-3855.

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