U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday announced an effort to prevent mass shootings through new tactics such as court-ordered counseling and supervision of potentially violent individuals.
The effort, announced in a memo to federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials, follows dozens of deadly mass shootings in the United States this year, including a massacre of 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and another just one day later in Dayton, Ohio, in which nine people were killed.
The FBI has at times struggled to identify these home-grown threats, which often develop with little advance warning.
Lawmakers are considering whether new laws are needed to help investigate those who are motivated by white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other extreme ideologies that are protected by the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech safeguards.
Others, such as the gunman who killed 59 people in Las Vegas in October 2017, do not appear to have any particular ideological affiliation.
Barr said a training conference at FBI headquarters in December will present “proven models for engaging extremely challenging individuals” and consider new ideas to face such threats.
Among those, he said, are enlisting psychologists and community groups.
In one successful case, Barr said, the FBI worked with parents and social-service workers to get court-ordered supervision and mental-health treatment for a young person who was the subject of a threat investigation.