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A.G. Barr’s New Gun Violence Prevention Initiative ‘Toothless,’ Focusing on Policing Instead of Solutions that Stop Violence Before it Happens

Washington, D.C., November 13, 2019 – Today, Brady criticized the U.S. Department of Justice’s announced ‘Project Guardian’ initiative.

Brady President Kris Brown stated:

“Though I’m skeptical, I hope AG Barr’s ‘Project Guardian’ initiative is a sincere attempt to address the gun violence epidemic in the United States. Even so, the plan as outlined will not accomplish that goal, as it focuses only on enforcement and increased policing, making no serious effort to address the supply of guns and how they fall into the hands of individuals who have proven themselves a danger to themselves or to others. Gun violence is a complex situation and we need policies that address its many facets and underlying causes.”

The Trump administration’s proposed initiative will expand policing initiatives already in place, while making no substantive effort to address common-sense and bipartisan policies like expanded background checks and enactment of extreme risk protection orders (sometimes referred to as ‘red flag laws’), which Americans of both parties support. Though the initiative looks to expand local, state, and federal partnerships as well as increase resources for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the actions are not enough.

Christian Heyne, Vice President of Policy at Brady, added:

Project Guardian is billed as ‘investigating, prosecuting, and preventing gun crimes,’ showing that the Trump administration’s focus on law enforcement solutions will only address violence after it has happened. The administration can take actionable steps to address the supply of weapons across the country, including urging Senator McConnell to allow a vote on two bipartisan bills, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, that would expand background checks but are languishing on the Majority Leader’s desk. Instead, the Trump administration has in fact expanded access to firearms, including for individuals deemed dangerous or who should not possess a gun. Shame on them. These bills will save lives and every day they sit on Sen. McConnell’s desk approximately 100 Americans die from gun violence. That responsibility lies with the Majority Leader and the President. That blood is on their hands.”

The bills, H.R. 1112 and H.R. 8, would expand background checks and address what is known as ‘the Charleston loophole,’ and have both passed the U.S. House of Representatives but have not received a hearing or a vote in the U.S. Senate. (More on H.R. 1112 and H.R. 8).

Brown concluded:

“We will work with any administration or party that makes a good faith effort to address the gun violence epidemic in the United States. This isn’t it.”

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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