Idaho Prosecutor: ATF 'Significantly Short on Manpower in Our Area'


An Idaho lawman says he has "limited ability" to address illegal gun possession cases, in the wake of the Christmas Eve shooting of four Upstate New York firefighters and the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., shooting that left 20 elementary school children and eight adults dead.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson says his office usually doesn't address gun possession cases, "since most of those laws are federal, rather than state."

"We can't handle it locally because it isn't [an Idaho] law being violated," Thompson told the Tribune. "We're not having much success getting prosecution referrals accepted. The [U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] is significantly short on manpower in our area."

The Tribune's William Spence reports that Thompson said it "might give his office an opportunity to be more proactive" if the Idaho Legislature were to approve laws restricting gun ownership.

"People are looking to the criminal justice system to take care of them, but it's a reactive system," Thompson told the Tribune. "We react after something bad happens. That doesn't necesssarily solve the problem. We need something at the front end to help individuals deal with their mental health needs."