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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Attorney General Announces Project Guardian to Reduce Gun Violence

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the launch of Project Guardian, a nationwide initiative to complement and strengthen the Department of Justice’s existing Project Safe Neighborhoods program, to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. In addition to reinforcing efforts by ATF to work with state and local law enforcement partners, Project Guardian emphasizes the use of new technologies available to law enforcement to promote gun crime intelligence.

“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,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.

“We have been tasked by the Attorney General to use all of our resources and federal firearms laws to reduce gun violence,” said U.S. Attorney John Milhiser. “Our mission continues to be the protection of Central Illinois citizens from gun violence, and that is what we will do – working together, working smarter, and using available technology and intelligence. There is no higher priority than keeping our communities safe.”

“ATF has a long history of strong partnerships in the law enforcement community,” said Acting Director Regina Lombardo. “Make no mistake, the women and men of ATF remain steadfast to our core mission of getting crime guns off of our streets. ATF and U.S. Attorneys nationwide will leverage these partnerships even further through enhanced community outreach initiatives and coordination with local, state, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors to cut the pipeline of crime guns from those violent individuals who seek to terrorize our communities.” 

Project Guardian’s implementation is based on five principles: Coordinated Prosecution with state and local law enforcement to consider potential federal prosecution for defendants who use guns to commit crime; Background Check System Enforcement as U.S. Attorneys work with ATF in their respective districts to create new, or review existing, guidelines for intake and prosecution of federal cases involving false statements made during the acquisition or attempted acquisition of firearms from Federal Firearms Licensees; Improved Information Sharing by ATF to provide state law enforcement fusion centers reports of individuals for whom the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has issued denials, including the basis for the denial, so that state and local law enforcement may take appropriate steps under their laws; Coordinated Response to Mental Health Denials to ensure that whenever there is federal case information regarding individuals who are prohibited from possessing a firearm under the mental health prohibition, information continues to be entered timely and accurately into the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices’ case-management system for prompt submission to NICS; and, Crime Gun Intelligence Coordination to promote effective use of the ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Centers, and all related resources, to maximize the use of modern intelligence tools and technology. For more information on Project Guardian, see the Attorney General’s memorandum at:

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated November 13, 2019