Prosecutor: Undeniable fact that firearms used to commit violent - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Prosecutor: Undeniable fact that firearms used to commit violent crimes almost always illegally obtained

Prosecutor Brandon Essig with the U.S. Attorney's office says more than 85 percent of his caseload deals with crimes involving firearms. Prosecutor Brandon Essig with the U.S. Attorney's office says more than 85 percent of his caseload deals with crimes involving firearms.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Prosecutors say it's an undeniable fact. The firearms used to commit violent crimes are almost always illegally obtained.

Depending on the circumstance, most local gun crimes are typically tried in federal court. In the Middle District of Alabama, those crimes make up the lion's share of the violent crimes casework.

Montgomery police say they recovered the gun used in a shooting over a drug deal on Friday.    Investigators haven't confirmed if the firearm was illegally obtained, but based on statistics, the case will likely end up on Prosecutor Brandon Essig's desk.

"Most of them have some connection to drug activity," Essig says. Gun-related cases make up 85 percent of his caseload at the U.S. Attorney's office.

The firearms involved in those investigations are typically legal, street level guns, but it's how they were obtained that makes them illegal and more difficult to prosecute.

"What makes prosecuting the gun market more difficult than the drug market is that drugs are illegal, guns are not," Essig says adding that it's hard to eliminate the black market - the source for illegal guns.

Firearms are usually stolen during home or car break-ins and then sold at a soaring rate.

"Through our process of sifting through the cases, it still is the most significant types of cases we prosecute in our office."

Since the beginning of 2013, MPD has seized nearly 400 illegal or illegally obtained handguns.

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal program, executed by the Department of Justice, that helps take illegal guns off the streets. The U.S. Attorneys office in the Middle District is a participant and involves local law enforcement agencies.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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