Law enforcement agencies team up to keep guns out of felons' hands

A new campaign launched Monday hopes to make communities safer by getting illegal guns off the streets.

"Our prosecutions for people who commit gun crimes or people who are felons who carry firearms -- they are up 10% from last year," said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. "But, as this partnership will tell you, we're not done and we've got a long way to go."

That push is the force behind a campaign unveiled Monday that will use a number of public service announcements and billboards to send a strong message to southeast Michigan about felons and guns.

"It's a warning to people that you shouldn't have a gun if you are a felon," Schneider said.

"The message is simple if you carry a gun illegally ... and you are purchasing or selling drugs, we're going arrest you," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Three different levels of law enforcement are involved -- Detroit police, the U.S. attorney's office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- working together to drive that message home, not only to people who have been convicted of a felony but those who assist them.

"1-800-ATF-GUNS -- please call us if you have information whatsoever about anybody who is illegally selling firearms to prohibited persons," said ATF Special Agent James Deir.

Billboards will start appearing across metro Detroit in early March. Chief Craig says his team will also rely on social media to help reach the masses, and as this community awareness campaign is launched, agencies will also rely on technology to help solve cases.

"We're using technology like NIBIN -- the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. It's a ballistic imaging system that's connecting seemingly unrelated shootings and connecting and putting investigators together," Deir said. 

Partnerships across law enforcement and community awareness are all working to fight crime and create safer neighborhoods.

"We're trying to prevent the next victim," Deir said.