Authorities working to keep firearms out of the wrong hands

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Officials say under federal law it’s illegal to have a firearm if you are a convicted felon, an illegal alien, an unlawful user of a controlled substance, convicted of a misdemeanor crime or domestic violence.

Authorities’ main focus is keeping people safe.

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They believe keeping firearms out of the hands of people who are not supposed to have them will help lower crime.

U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan says his office is committed to prosecuting these offenses, which will help protect people and saves lives.

In the 2020 fiscal year, the Department of Justice prosecuted more than 14,000 defendants nationwide for firearms-related offenses.

Duncan says this was made possible because of the federal, state, and local law enforcement partnerships.

Locally in 2020, Duncan’s office prosecuted 184 defendants, who were charged with gun violence or firearm related crimes.

He says that is a 38% increase in the number of defendants based on a four-year average.

In Lexington, 24 defendants were prosecuted for gun crimes through our violent crimes task force.

Chief Weathers says one thing they’ve noticed is the increase of kids involved in shooting incidents.

Weathers says they try to lead kids in the right direction and talk to them about gun violence. He says officers want to give them a positive atmosphere.