The U.S. Department of Justice announced Project Guardian on Wednesday, a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing gun violence.
In the announcement, Attorney General William Barr called for more prosecutions of gun crimes, including lying on background checks to buy firearms. According to a 2018 Government Accountability Office report, in 2017 federal prosecutors only charged 12 individuals for falsifying such information out of 12,710 referred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for investigation.
Agencies in Oregon have already implemented many components of Project Guardian. Among the initiatives Barr laid out was increased integration of the ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center which oversees the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) – a nationwide database of high-resolution images of shell casings. For more than a year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon has been working to better incorporate NIBIN into police departments across the state.
David Chipman, a former ATF agent and current senior policy advisor at Giffords, a gun-control advocacy organization, said he thinks the memo aims to deflect attention from House impeachment inquiry proceedings.
“I’m glad the administration is bringing attention to this issue, I’m just suspect that their level of seriousness has yet to be proven,” he said.
The Trump administration has been inconsistent in its firearms policies, toggling between promises of stricter gun control and strengthening gun rights.