In January, 1999, the United States Attorney's Office with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, Philadelphia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officially implemented "Operation Cease Fire", a firearms initiative that aggressively targets violent and dangerous firearms offenders in the local court systems (Philadelphia County and the surrounding suburban counties) for prosecution in the federal system. By prosecuting these cases in the federal system, the local and federal authorities hope to take advantage of a more certain and severe sentencing scheme, the pre-trial detention of federal defendants pending trial, and the swifter disposition of these cases in federal court.
In 2001, the United States Department of Justice initiated Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide program targeting violent firearms offenders. United States Attorney Patrick L. Meehan used PSN as a vehicle to expand Operation Ceasefire to each of the nine counties in the Eastern District of Pennsyvania. In this program, each county has established a task force to investigate and prosecute:
- Convicted felons who unlawfully possess firearms,
- Criminals engaged in selling firearms without a license, and
- Criminals possessing/using/carrying firearms in federal crimes of violence or drug trafficking.
If you have information about any of these violations, please contact a member of Project Safe Neighborhoods at the 24-hour hotline: 1-800-ATF-GUNS.