U.S. attorney beefs up efforts to get guns off streets

U.S. attorney beefs up efforts to get guns off streets

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The city and the U.S. attorney are teaming up for a new crackdown on gun violence.

Thousands of signs are now going up around metro New Orleans, warning felons against carrying guns.

"We can't do this work without the assistance of the public," said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, who is beefing up efforts to prosecute anyone illegally carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. "If you're illegally carrying by a school zone, that's a five-year sentence."

The feds  are also targeting anyone carrying a gun who is the subject of a domestic violence order.

"If you know someone who's the subject of a domestic violence order, who is not supposed to be in possession of a firearm, that's also a federal offense," Polite said.

The campaign also promises to punish any felon caught with a gun.

"Ten years max is the exposure, but if the individual has three priors, they are looking at 15 mandatory minimum without probation or parole," Polite said.

These signs are only as good as the enforcement behind them, and Polite has an entire division designed to follow up on any arrests.

"We have increased prosecutors in street crimes up to 17 people now," Polite said.

Polite said laws dealing with the illegal carrying of guns have been on the books for years but haven't been adequately enforced.

"We've been tasked to do larger cases, but we're missing individual cases of gun violations which are being under-prosecuted on the federal level," he said.

He plans to change that in the coming year.

"I certainly think there's a way to increase our efforts. It will have some effect on the crime rate that we're seeing," Polite said.

He urges anyone who has knowledge of a gun violator to call the confidential ATF gun hotline at (800) ATF-GUNS.

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