- - Thursday, November 28, 2019

Like George Orwell’s “newspeak” from his brilliant novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the left has exchanged words and phrases they use in the public debate. They hope the euphemistic changes will better sell their ideas than the tired old ones. For example, liberals became progressives, global warming became climate change, quid pro quo became bribery, and gun control became gun safety.    

And with every horrific shooting incident, the left clamors for what they now call euphemistically gun safety, as gun control sounds too authoritarian, which of course it certainly is. Gun safety means passing new legislation that further restricts the gun rights of legal gun owners. That most shootings are committed by criminals who obtained the firearms illegally, or by mentally ill individuals, has not stopped the left’s clarion call for new strict gun control laws. 

Laws to stem gun violence already exist and the Trump administration is seeking to greater enforce those existing laws.  

Attorney General William P. Barr announced a new federal initiative to combat violent crime and gun violence, called Project Guardian, on Nov. 13th in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mr. Barr noted that the Trump administration, working with state and local authorities, pushed crime rates down in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, violent crime went down nearly 4 percent nationwide. But as crime remains far too high in cities and rural areas, the attorney general announced that the Justice Department will revive the triggerlock program, which he stated was not followed faithfully during the Obama years. Project Triggerlock targeted violent felons who illegally possessed guns. The program used strong federal gun laws to place the violent gut-toting criminals in prison.

“What we are trying to do is take those Triggerlock principles that were successful in the past and revamp this program, resuscitate it, and double down on it nationwide,” Mr. Barr stated in Memphis. “This is a national program. It will be in every district. The idea is to use our existing gun laws to incapacitate the most dangerous and violent offenders. As most of you know, with Project Safe Neighborhoods, which is one of the flagship programs of the Department of Justice, we do go after the armed felons. But that program is regionally based; we go after particular areas.”

Project Guardian, according to the attorney general, is a national initiative to comprehensively attack gun violence through the aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws.

“This will be implemented nationwide in every federal district. We are going to apply pressure with vigor where gun violence is the highest in places like Memphis. Local agencies will be involved, but ATF will be leading this effort. It will involve all federal law enforcement agencies working closely with our state and local colleagues.”

According to Mr. Barr, Project Guardian will offer coordinated prosecutions. The Justice Department will team up with state and local law enforcement to target dangerous criminals who use guns, and crackdown on those who evade gun laws and background checks, such as “lie-and-try,” “lie-and-buy” and straw purchases. The Justice Department will also coordinate a response to mental health denials to purchase a forearm. The Justice Department will work with state and local authorities to ascertain if there is a mental health response and interdict efforts by those people who obtain guns.    

Lastly, the Justice Department and its partners will work toward ensuring the effective use of ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Centers and maximize modern-intelligence tools and technology.

Mr. Barr stated that the ATF and U.S. attorneys will fight gun crime using the power of federal agencies, federal law and the federal courts.

In my years of covering crime, I’ve seen a good number of shooting victims while accompanying police officers out on the street. From mob hits to armed robbery and street gang warfare, I’ve witnessed the carnage that a criminal with an illegal gun can do. 

But a legally-owned gun in the right hands can save lives. Cops have told me that crooks are more afraid of armed shopkeepers and average citizens than they are of police officers. Criminals much prefer victims who don’t shoot back.

Gun control advocates call for more laws and limits on purchasing firearms. Their true desire, it seems to me, is to totally remove guns from private ownership. Some have, in a moment of rare candor, admitted as much.    

I’m against gun control that restricts or denies law-abiding citizens from purchasing and owning guns, and I’m for strict and tough enforcement of laws that prohibit and punish criminals who use guns in the commission of a crime.

• Paul Davis covers crime, espionage and terrorism.

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