“Federal time is hard time,” she said. “There’s nothing easy about it.”
The initiative, which Wilson calls Operation Fed Up, is an effort that will
attempt to refocus and step up work that began in 2002 under Project CeaseFire,
a program to reduce gun violence.
The idea is to have intensive case reviews of gun cases to decide whether those
cases should be prosecuted at the state or federal level. Advantages exist at
the federal level that do not at the state level; for example, federal
sentencing guidelines are much harsher and cases can be sent to a grand jury
which has investigative powers, Wilson noted.
According to federal statistics, more than 2,000 violent offenders have been
sent to prison since Operation Cease Fire started in 2002.
Under the program, if a person is arrested for carrying an illegal gun, in all
likelihood that person will not be able to get out of jail because under the
federal statute, that person is not entitled to bail. If convicted, the offender
can spend up to 10 years in federal prison.
The program is especially aimed at repeat offender convicted felons, fugitives
from justice, drug users or addicts, illegal or temporary status aliens, persons
committed to mental institutions, persons dishonorably discharged from the U.S.
Military, anyone involved in domestic violence or convicted f misdemeanor
violent offenses or threats with deadly weapons.
“Just being in possession of ammunition can get you arrested if you fall into
one of those categories,” Wilson said.
People who might not fall into those categories, but who are caught helping
someone in those groups obtain a gun, can also be prosecuted, she said.
Convicted drug dealers and violent federal offenders caught with guns will
automatically go to federal prison for 30 years, she added.