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Department of Justice Highlights Western District Of Oklahoma for Its Focus on Firearms Offenses Involving Domestic Violence

Published: March 6, 2019

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OKLAHOMA CITY – In remarks today in Washington, DC, Katharine Sullivan, the Acting Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women, singled out the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma for its success in prosecuting firearms cases involving domestic violence.  The office’s initiative, “Operation 922,” is the local implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a Department-wide program to prevent and prosecute violent crime.  For the full text of Acting Director Sullivan’s remarks at the FBI’s celebration of National Women’s History Month, see: https://www.justice.gov/ovw/blog/womens-history-month-reflections-individuals-who-influence-us-and-doj-accomplishments.

As part of Operation 922, federal prosecutors in the Western District of Oklahoma focus on enforcing federal laws to keep firearms out of the hands of those Congress has precluded from possessing firearms.  Operation 922 specifically focuses on domestic violence abusers who are subject to a victim protection order or restraining order, or who have been previously convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.  Section 922 of Title 18 of the United States Code prohibits those specific offenders from possessing firearms or ammunition.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office also targets domestic violence offenders through Section 922’s prohibition on possessing a firearm after any felony conviction.  In addition, the office prosecutes violent crime cases in Indian Country, including domestic abuse acts involving strangulation and cases in which a firearm or other weapon is used.

“You cannot have safe neighborhoods without first having safe homes,” said Bob Troester, First Assistant U.S. Attorney.  “This effort to protect victims of domestic violence relies upon our committed partnership with District Attorney David Prater and his office, the Oklahoma City Police Department and Chief Bill Citty, and Palomar, Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center.  It is also the result of the dedicated work of the women and men of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect victims from domestic abusers.”

Locally, since Operation 922 was initiated last year, over 50 domestic-violence-related cases have been charged by Western District prosecutors.  These cases include all prosecutions for illegal possession of firearms related to domestic violence.  Nationally, according to Justice Department data, the number of defendants charged in the specific category of possessing a firearm after a misdemeanor conviction (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)) has grown by nearly 80%, from 110 in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2016 to 197 in FY2018.  In the same period, convictions increased more than 160% from 55 in FY2016 to 148 in FY2018.

For further information about Operation 922, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (405) 553-8999.