The feds are sending a message to felons with firearms.
“We know statistically, someone who is a convicted felon for whatever reason, it’s unlawful for them to possess a firearm, we know that firearm is far more likely to be used in a crime of violence with that person,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Justin Herdman.
Last year, 268 people were indicted for violent crimes, Herdman said that’s the most since 2004. It’s part of the Department of Justice initiative, Project Safe Neighborhoods.
Herdman said his office is focused on guns and violent crime - one targets felons with guns and the other domestic violence.
“Another area that we’ve broadened recently relates to domestic violence. Somebody who has a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. They can be prosecuted federally if they have a firearm,” added Herdman.
The U.S. Attorney’s office has identified violent crime and drug overdoses as the biggest threats to the community. Federal law enforcement agencies are working with local departments to crack down on violent crime. “It’s been extremely beneficial,” said Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely.
Since July, 17 cases have gone through the federal system, another six cases are pending. Whitely said stiffer federal penalties are making a difference.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk on the streets, you have to be careful going federal now,” added Whitely.