The U.S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland announced this week that it accused 328 people of weapons charges in U.S. District Court in northern Ohio in the fiscal year 2020, which, for the federal government, is Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30. That’s compared to the 125 charged in the fiscal year 2016, an increase of more than 160 percent.
“We’ve made prosecuting gun cases a priority,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “We have got to hold people accountable.”
The crimes most commonly include convicted felons caught with guns and suspects who use firearms during the commission of drug crimes or violent attacks.
Critics question the timing of the announcements.
They say the Justice Department’s fight against guns and violent crime has become part of the campaign message for Trump’s re-election bid against Democratic nominee Joseph Biden.
“They’re doing this to get [Trump] elected,” said Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond. “This isn’t the job of the Justice Department. It’s a perversion of what should be happening. U.S. attorneys across the country are doing this.”