U.S. Attorney General in Memphis announces nationwide plan to reduce gun violence

Updated: Nov. 13, 2019 at 10:35 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The nation's top law enforcement official, Attorney General William Barr joined local, state and federal leaders in Memphis to announce a new initiative aimed at reducing gun violence.

Barr says the Bluff City has been on his mind lately.

“Memphis is one of those cities that has not benefitted as much as it should from the general reduction of crime,” said Barr. “That’s why I’ve come to Memphis really to announce this new program.”

Barr says his plan, Project Guardian, focuses on investigating, prosecuting and preventing gun crimes.

It builds upon past federal programs that Barr says successfully reduced violent crime.

"The idea is to use our existing gun laws to incapacitate the dangerous violent offenders," said Barr.

Under the plan, the feds will work with local and state law enforcement to consider if suspects arrested for a firearms charge should face federal prosecution.

The plan also cracks down on those who lie on background checks and shares this information with cities and states.

It also calls for better partnerships to keep guns from those with mental health issues and increases the use of federal resources to help prevent gun crimes.

"We know that Project Guardian will enhance and focus our work even more," said U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant.

Barr said his plan can be implemented without any action from Congress.

"Unfortunately, our discussions on the legislative aspect of this have been sidetracked because of the impeachment process on the hill," said Barr.

Barr says there will be other steps of his plan that he will announce later.

To read Barr’s memorandum outlining the plan in detail, click here.

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