Department of Justice looks to crack down on illegal guns with Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces

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INDIANAPOLIS — The United States Department of Justice aims to crack down on crime guns.

Federal prosecutors have announced the creation of new nationwide Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces.

Local and federal prosecutors believe getting illegal guns off the streets can save lives because 93% of the homicides this year in Indianapolis are the result of gun violence.

“If we can interdict this flow of firearms and where firearms leave legal commerce and enter the criminal environment, we can do a great deal to reduce violent crime,” said acting United States Attorney John Childress.

In one specific case, an argument Wednesday night between two men at a gas station near 10th and Rural led to a deadly shooting.

According to court records, the accused killer Bruce McClinton is a convicted felon with an active warrant at the time of the shooting. Police claim McClinton used an illegally-possessed handgun to kill Norman Rogers Junior and marked the 136th deadly shooting in 2021 out of 147 total homicides.

“There are a lot of people working hard to reduce violent crime because it’s a threat to all of us,” said Childress.

That’s why Childress says getting illegal guns out of the hands of criminals is the goal of the federal Firearms Trafficking Strike Force.

“It’s a problem that impacts us all. This strike force is meant to address the problem as a whole, not just in Chicago or Indianapolis, but the problem of guns as they move through the criminal system,” said Childress.

Childress believes tracking the movement of illegal firearms can be beneficial because guns found at crime scenes often come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

“These guns flow. They move from where they are stolen to larger metropolitan areas,” said Childress.

The last couple of years IMPD has operated the Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC), tracking and seizing hundreds of illegal firearms.

A new state law, which took effect this month, created the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force. The law will expand CGIC’s efforts across 8 counties in central Indiana.

The hope is the local and federal work will serve the same purpose.

“It’s a group effort. Even if they are different efforts, they all combine to the same goal of reducing violent crime,” said Childress.

The strike forces will be based in five regions around the country, with the closest being Chicago.

Federal prosecutors claim a significant number of guns from Indiana are recovered in crimes in the Windy City.

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