Renewed focus on weapons charges is producing interesting, if disappointing, results. While arrests have doubled for possession of weapons charges, shootings remain high and frequently result in no arrest. The problem is that the majority of these arrests are targeting Black men but have not resulted in an overall reduction of violent crime.
The race to get guns off the street ensures that police officers will use any potential pretext as a reason to search suspects. This can include innocuous traffic stops for tinted windows, the smell of weed, or a bulge in a fanny pack. Police believe that every gun recovered is a potential life saved. But lives are also destroyed in the process. However, the majority of weapons-related charges involve allegations of possession and not use. Violent crimes involving guns remain difficult to solve, and police have overwhelmingly charged Black men with weapons violations. Even as the number of possession-related arrests doubled, the number of violent crimes involving guns escalated over the same period.
Statistics on Gun Possession Charges