As Baltimore police and prosecutors race to tamp down a sustained spike in violence, many of the charges against people caught with illegal guns aren't sticking, or defendants are only jailed for a fraction of their sentence.
About one-quarter of such gun cases are dropped before defendants go to trial, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis. Even when convicted of illegally possessing a firearm, prosecutors say, defendants are sentenced on average to 16 months in jail, with a substantial portion of their sentences suspended.
At the same time, police data show that fewer people arrested with illegal guns are ordered held without bail.
In one case, a 23-year-old man was...