MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr and other federal leaders came to Memphis Wednesday morning, to announce a new initiative targeting gun violence and strengthening gun laws, entitled Project Guardian.
Attorney General Barr said Memphis is where Project Guardian could potentially have the strongest impact, since the Bluff City struggles with a violent crime rate more than five times the national average.
Local law enforcement leaders applauded the federal partnership and its potential to make Mid-South streets safer.
Attorney General Barr said the initiative sends a strong message about his Department of Justice and how it handles federal gun laws.
“We are going to enforce them with a vengeance,” Attorney General Barr said.
That’s why the Attorney General Barr unveiled the Project Guardian initiative. The effort prioritizes federal partners like the ATF, working alongside local law enforcement to crack down on gun crimes and prevent them in the first place.
“The primary duty of government is protecting the safety of our citizens,” Attorney General Barr said.
Among the initiative’s goals: consider more federal prosecution for local gun crimes, bulk up penalties for false background check statements, and increase technology for gun location and ballistics evidence.
“Despite the progress that we have made, some areas – like Memphis – continue to experience unacceptable levels of firearms violence,” ATF Acting Deputy Director Regina Lombardo said.
The federal Project Guardian initiative expands on existing Department of Justice policies and does not require Congressional approval.