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Posted: 3/7/2002 1:18:43 PM EDT
Federal prosecutors plan crackdown on guns in western Iowa Associated Press (IA) March 6, 2002 COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Federal prosecutors plan to crack down on gun offenses hoping to prevent an escalation in gun-related crime on the Iowa side of the state line after Omaha, Neb., heightens enforcement. Federal prosecutors will travel from Des Moines to Council Bluffs to prosecute cases, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Omaha federal prosecutors began to target felons caught with firearms in January after the U.S. Attorney's Office announced a national program called Project Safe Neighborhoods. The initiative coordinates local police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms with federal prosecution. County prosecutors have always referred some firearms cases to federal court. But now they will do so with almost all felon-in-possession-of-firearms cases. In state court, those offenders could receive relatively light sentences or probation. If convicted in federal court, they will receive as much as 10 years in a federal penitentiary with no chance for parole. Felons with three prior convictions for violent crimes or major drug offenses get a mandatory 15-year minimum sentence. Without a similar push from federal prosecutors in Iowa, Council Bluffs authorities worried they would see more Omaha criminals pushed across the state line. "For years we have kind of been an island here," Pottawattamie County Attorney Rick Crowl said. "But the federal prosecutors know that we're kind of isolated and they're really willing to help us out." The county has about 15 pending firearms-related cases that could be candidates for federal prosecution. Among the first cases that could be prosecuted on the federal level are a Glenwood man and a Lincoln, Neb., man who police say were pulled over last week with firearms and nearly 3 pounds of methamphetamine. Nebraska U.S. Attorney Mike Heavican said his office has worked on 25 such cases since January and produced seven indictments. Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Des Moines, which covers Council Bluffs and the southern half of Iowa, expect many cases from Council Bluffs. "There's no question that Project Safe Neighborhoods is a priority for the Department of Justice," said Al Overbaugh, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Steven Colloton. "And Council Bluffs will be one of the areas we'll certainly key on." Officials might use a quiet and little-known federal court to try the cases. The courtroom is two floors above the post office in downtown Council Bluffs. It includes an office for a U.S. attorney and a law library. The facilities have hardly been used since the federal building opened in the 1950s. Crowl and Colloton looked through the building last week. The courtroom is used for occasional bankruptcy cases and about five or 10 civil trials a year. No criminal trials have been held there for at least the past 17 years, said Shirley Erickson, the deputy clerk that runs the office. Overbaugh said the U.S. Attorney's Office has no plans to open a branch office in Council Bluffs similar to an office in Davenport. Trying cases in Council Bluffs would depend on getting a judge from U.S. District Court in Des Moines.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 2:00:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2002 2:02:49 PM EDT by Schnert]
I've lived in Iowa, and contrary to popular notions they have a GUN PROBLEM. The problem is that those Iowegian farmers only have one gun. They buy a Mossberg 870 combo and use it to hunt bird and deer. The more astute Iowegian "gun nuts" may have as many as two guns. They own the obligatory Mossberg 500 combo AND a Winchester .30-30 that they use to - get this - hunt deer with down in Missouri! Crazy bastards! Despite their serious lack of personal weaponry, the Scanderhoovian widow women and Tom Ballsak who runs the state government keeps on pushing for more "common sense" gun control measures.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 2:06:08 PM EDT
Perhaps they heard I was moving back??? Avitor [img]www.milpubs.com/aviator.gif[/img]
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 2:13:00 PM EDT
Project "Safe Neighborhoods"? In Iowa? Give me a break! What about some of those neighborhoods in Chicago, LA, DC, NY or Philly? It seems to me they they are going after the easy prey while they are chickenshit to go after the real gangbanger problem in the country.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 2:37:23 PM EDT
Enforcing laws on the law abiding is always more rewarding than trying to police rampant criminal activity. Unfortunately one leads directly to the other. As you remove private protection from the law abiding citizens, the law breakers are quick to move in on the now defenseless victims. This produces an outcry for more police protection, more enforcement of laws against the law abiding, and more opportunity for criminal success, thus propagating the vicious circle. This principle has been demonstrated in practice worldwide- In Australia, England, and at home in Chicago, DC, etc....
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 2:43:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2002 2:44:33 PM EDT by Schnert]
Iowa has a bigger problem with METH. All the kids out there are cooking that crap in their back yards with anhydrous ammonia that they stole from the local co-op. Guns certainly aren't a problem in Iowa. Perhaps they need an ATF initiative "Operation Safe Corn Crib".
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