U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced on Nov. 13 an initiative that’s designed to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws throughout the country.
Barr was in Memphis, Tennessee, to unveil the five-point plan, named Project Guardian, which focuses specifically on investigating, prosecuting, and preventing gun crimes.
“Gun crime remains a pervasive problem in too many communities across America. Today, the Department of Justice is redoubling its commitment to tackling this issue through the launch of Project Guardian,” Barr said in a statement.
“Building on the success of past programs like Triggerlock, Project Guardian will strengthen our efforts to reduce gun violence by allowing the federal government and our state and local partners to better target offenders who use guns in crimes and those who try to buy guns illegally.”
Barr said the project will utilize federal resources to crack down on crimes involving guns, while working with local and regional law enforcement to reduce violent crime.
The project will implement five principles, including coordinated prosecution of new cases involving defendants who are believed to have used a firearm in committing a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime prosecutable in federal court, or those who are suspected of actively committing violent crimes in the community on behalf of a criminal organization.
Attorneys general, alongside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), will also enforce background checks, reviewing existing guidelines and creating new ones for the intake and prosecution of federal cases involving false statements made while attempting to purchase firearms or a firearms license.
Information sharing will also be improved, with information on those who have been issued denials under the national background check system given to state and local law enforcement. Data will be updated in the background check system in a timely manner when there is new or additional information about those who are prohibited from owning firearms for mental health reasons.
Finally, federal, state, local, and tribal prosecutors and law enforcement will collaborate to ensure effective use of the ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Centers (CGICs) and all related resources to maximize the use of modern intelligence tools and technology.
Barr said he has high hopes for the five-step framework and is “committed to preventing gun violence” whenever possible.
“I know you share my grave concern regarding the gun violence that has plagued our communities and that you are committed to preventing gun violence whenever possible. By initiating Project Guardian, we take an important step in increasing the safety and security of our communities. I look forward to hearing in the coming months about your implementation of this program, which will help make our country a safer place for all,” he said.
The release of Project Guardian follows back-to-back shootings in recent months in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed more than 30 people.
Speaking shortly after the shootings, President Donald Trump said that he is committed to working with Congress to “stop the menace of mass attacks,” adding that public safety is the No. 1 priority.