In March 1999 the United States Attorney's Office launched Triggerlock II, a district wide program whose goal is to intensify the enforcement of federal firearm laws. Triggerlock II continues the commitment of the U.S. Attorney's Office to vigorously prosecute firearms offenders in federal court where such prosecution is warranted, and serves as the umbrella program for locally sponsored efforts.
Triggerlock II incorporates the objectives of Project Triggerlock initiated by DOJ in April 1991, to prosecute federally the most violent and dangerous offenders who commit federal firearm offenses. Triggerlock II expands the focus of federal firearm enforcement in Northern California to include offenders who are "Level 20" convicted felons with a firearm on their person or in their possession in a vehicle, narcotics dealers with a gun, convicted sex offenders, persons convicted of domestic violence, persons subject to restraining orders, straw purchasers/sellers of firearms, and Brady Act violations such as ignoring the statutory waiting period on purchase of firearms, sales to known felons, and similar violations at gun shows. Level 20 refers to those felons identified by the Federal Sentencing Guideline as the most serious offenders worthy of the stiffest sentences.
Triggerlock II is based on a cooperative effort among federal, state, county, and city officials, including agents, officers, investigators, and prosecutors. The participating federal agencies are ATF, FBI, DEA, and the U.S. Marshal's Service. Many cities in the District are actively involved in the program, including Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, and Eureka. Triggerlock II cases are investigated by one or more members of a team composed of federal agents and investigators from local police and sheriff's departments.
A central component of Triggerlock II is community awareness and assistance in the apprehension of firearm offenders, and the education of the community, particularly young people, about the violence associated with firearms. The program is publicized through the media and other avenues. For example, in Oakland, where the program is called Project Exile, it is publicized through the combined efforts of city government, the Chamber of Commerce, community groups, and participating federal agencies. Oakland advertises a toll-free number that anyone can call to anonymously report firearm offenses and other crimes in their community.