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Weapons Offenses and Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1995
8 pages
L A Greenfeld; M W Zawitz
Publication Series
Publication Type
FBI data for 1983 indicate that State and local law enforcement agencies made 262,300 arrests in which a weapons offense was the most serious charge, a 54 percent increase since 1974.
During the last 20 years, the proportion of all arrests that were for weapons offenses remained fairly constant during the period. Weapons arrestees are predominantly male, age 18 or over, and white. However, weapons arrest rates per 100,000 are highest for teenagers and for blacks. Arrests of juveniles represent an increasing proportion of weapons arrests. The number of Federal weapons offenses investigated and prosecuted has increased at least fourfold since 1980. Average prison sentence lengths for Federal weapons offenders have increased, while those for State offenders have decreased. Among the defendants in felony weapons cases in the 75 largest counties in 1992, two-fifths were on probation, parole, or pretrial release at the time of the offense, and one-third had previously been convicted of a felony. Weapons charges as an addition to other charges are more common at the Federal level than the State level. Figures, tables, map, and 26 references
Date Created: December 16, 2009