Recently, a report looked at trends in violent offense rates throughout the nation. It reviewed 2017 crime data on the states and hundreds of major metro areas.
Here in Minnesota, intentionally injuring someone, trying to injure someone, or taking threatening action against someone to put that person in fear of immediate injury or death is assault. Being accused of such conduct can lead to criminal charges.
We live in a world where the criminal justice system has focused on putting away as many criminals as possible for as long as possible. While being "tough on crime" may be popular, it has resulted in real problems. For one, many people have been subjected to harsh, mandatory minimum sentences that are often far out of proportion with the underlying crime. And, long sentences have contributed to our current mass incarceration crisis.
The federal Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) acts pretty much like a three-strikes law, although it counts any violent felony or serious drug conviction as a strike, whether it resulted in a federal or state conviction. Federal law generally prohibits felons from possessing firearms, but the ACCA goes further. For people who have been convicted of three qualifying felonies, a gun conviction results a mandatory 15-year sentence in federal prison.
A recent story by NPR highlighted some issues with the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN), a huge ballistics database operated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It contains high-resolution images of the marks left on bullets and shell casings fired by specific firearms. The idea is to allow users to match those bullets and casings to each other and, sometimes, to match them to a specific gun.