- 188 cases for gun trafficking, despite the recovery of 300,000 guns showing signs of trafficking. This represents a 5 percent decline in prosecutions from 2002 levels.
- 32 cases against corrupt gun stores, even though the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has concluded that "dirty dealers" are the leading source of firearms recovered in gun trafficking operations. Prosecutors in 29 states that are home to 50,675 licensed dealers filed not even one case against a gun retailer in 2003.
- 532 cases for lying on a firearms background check form -- an 8% decrease -- even though more than 126,000 people submitted false information on the forms and despite Attorney General John Ashcroft's emphasis on pursuing these cases.
- 5 cases for illegally selling a gun to a minor, even though more than 30,000 gun crimes were committed by youths age 17 or under;
- 234 cases for possessing or selling a stolen firearm, despite nearly 40,000 stolen guns being recovered by law enforcement and returned to their rightful owner; and
- 89 cases for possessing or selling a firearm with an obliterated serial number -- a sign that the gun was sold illegally -- despite the fact that police recover thousands of guns with missing serial numbers each year during criminal investigations.
The overall number of federal firearm prosecutions has increased in each of the last four years, rising from 7,124 in 2000 to 11,864 in 2003. Ninety-four percent of the increase, however, comes from prosecutions under just two statutes: one that outlaws possession of guns by convicted felons and another that makes the use of a gun in the commission of a violent felony or drug crime a separate federal offense in addition to any violation of state law.