The Department of Justice launches Project Guardian
to enforce and prosecute gun laws.
As the firearms and ammunition industry, we care deeply about Real Solutions to the problems of criminal misuse and unauthorized access to our products. We take action every day through our programs to promote safe, healthy use of firearms by law-abiding citizens. But we know more can be done to enforce existing laws and to prosecute those who break them.
That’s why NSSF applauds the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ) announcement this week launching Project Guardian a nationwide strategic plan to reduce the criminal misuse of firearms and to enforce existing federal firearms laws. Project Guardian will “further strengthen” and build on the Trump Administration’s DOJ’s ongoing efforts to combat gun violence.
Project Guardian complements existing programs to enforce federal laws and facilitate close coordination with state, local and tribal partners and is based on five principles:
- Coordinated prosecution: “Federal prosecutors and law enforcement will coordinate with state, local, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors to consider potential federal prosecution for new cases involving a defendant who: (a) was arrested in possession of a firearm; (b) is believed to have used a firearm in committing a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime prosecutable in federal court; or (c) is suspected of actively committing violent crime(s) in the community on behalf of a criminal organization.”
- Enforcement of federal firearms laws and background checks: “For all cases involving false statements on ATF Form 4473 (including lie-and-try, lie-and-buy, and straw purchasers), unlicensed firearms dealers, and other individuals involved in the illegal trafficking of firearms, the guidelines must place particular emphasis on: (a) violent persons, such as individuals convicted of violent felonies or misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, individuals subject to protective orders, and individuals who are fugitives where the underlying offense is a felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; (b) individuals suspected of involvement in criminal organizations or of providing firearms to criminal organizations; and ( c) individuals involved in repeat denials.”
- Improved information sharing: “… on a regular basis, and as often as practicable given current technical limitations, ATF will provide to state law enforcement fusion centers a report listing individuals for whom NICS has issued denials, including the basis for the denial, so that our state and local law enforcement partners can take appropriate steps under their laws.”
- Coordinated response to mental health denials: “United States Attorneys should consult with relevant district stakeholders, including ATF and state or local law enforcement and mental health departments, to assess the feasibility of adopting disruption and early engagement programs to address mental-health-prohibited individuals who, attempt to acquire a firearm and to counter the threat of mass shootings.”
- Crime gun intelligence coordination: “Federal, state, local, and tribal prosecutors and law enforcement will work together to ensure effective use of ATF CGICs, and all related resources, to maximize the use of modern intelligence tools and technology, such as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and Firearm Tracing, to investigate and prevent gun crime.”
Commitment to Real Solutions
We are strongly encouraged by the Trump administration’s commitment to enforcing the laws that will contribute to public safety while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. These are the common-sense answers we seek that hold criminals accountable for their actions and keep faith with our communities to be safeguarded against those who prey on the most vulnerable.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.