This article was written by Kerry Shaw and initially published on The Trace. To read the full article, click here.

In February, Erin Nealy Cox, a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, held a press conference to announce steps her office was taking to reduce deaths from domestic violence.

Standing behind a lectern, Cox introduced a district-wide initiative informally called “Abusers with Guns.” Its mission: To prosecute people who should not have firearms because of prior domestic violence misdemeanors, felonies, or protective orders.

“Not only could the Justice Department theoretically prosecute you for firearm possession, but in the Northern District of Texas, we will prosecute you,” said Cox, in her prepared remarks. “And upon conviction, the penalties will be swift, stiff, and serious.”

Since she was sworn into office in November 2017, Cox has established one of the most aggressive records in the country for prosecuting domestic abusers who unlawfully keep guns. In fiscal year 2018, Cox prosecuted 23 people with the lead charge of unlawful gun possession despite a prior domestic violence misdemeanor conviction, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse database (TRAC), which compiles information on federal prosecutions. That’s the highest of any district in the country. (Cox said the total “sounded high,” but her office was unable to provide a precise figure. TRAC’s figures were confirmed by several other districts, though its national tally was slightly higher than the one provided by the Justice Department.)

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