U.S. Attorney Polite Announces Multi-Agency Initiative to Remove Illegal Guns from School Zones
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that his Office – in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the New Orleans Police Department, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Crimestoppers – will increase efforts to investigate and prosecute federal laws prohibiting the possession of firearms in school zones throughout Southeast Louisiana. In particular, the federal gun free school zone statute makes it a crime to unlawfully possess a firearm within 1000 feet of every elementary and secondary school. The statute is narrowly tailored, and does not forbid otherwise lawful possession: on private property, by law enforcement officers acting in their official capacity, or by individuals licensed to carry firearms by the state of Louisiana.
U.S. Attorney Polite stated, “This is an underutilized federal statute that will assist us in removing illegal firearms from our streets, particularly as we are seeing spikes in violent crime. It carries a maximum punishment of 5 years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment. We need the public’s help in two ways: report illegal firearms to ATF or Crimestoppers and spread the message that unlawful possession of firearms near our children’s schools will lead to federal prison.”
To increase public awareness of this initiative, U.S. Attorney Polite also announced that the all of the agencies will host a roll-out event on Thursday, July 30, 2015, at Mildred Osborne Charter School, 6701 Curran Boulevard in New Orleans East. All are invited. Members of the law enforcement agencies will also canvas the school zone surrounding Osborne, to inform the community about the initiative’s work. Food and refreshments will be served.