Justice Department to prosecute more gun-involved crimes


WASHINGTON, D.C. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - The U.S. Department of Justice announced a new law enforcement initiative in an effort to stem the tide of gun violence.

“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,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a release Wednesday.

Project Guardian is expected to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws across the country by having the ATF focus on investigating, prosecuting and prevent gun crimes.

“ATF has a long history of strong partnerships in the law enforcement community,” said Acting Director Regina Lombardo.

Justice pointed to past successes, such as the Triggerlock program and Project Safe Neighborhoods.

Triggerlock zeroes in on gang and drug cases that could be prosecuted under federal weapons laws, resulting in tougher sentences for people convicted.

Project Safe Neighborhoods is a joint venture by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. The program helps identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community.

Highlights of Project Guardian include:

• Coordinate prosecution by federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors of gun-involved crimes.
• Increase enforcement of the background check system, focusing on people who lie when trying to buy a gun.
• Improve the sharing between agencies of National Instant Criminal Background Check System information.
• Coordinate response to mental health denials and get critical information into the NICS system quicker.
• Increase intelligence work between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

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