Washington — As cities across the country are tackling a surge in gun violence, President Joe Biden hopes to launch a full-scale government effort on Wednesday to reverse the annoying trend.
In a White House speech, Biden included establishing a “zero tolerance policy” for fraudulent gun dealers and preventing illegal trafficking of firearms, according to a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Announce security strategy.
The presidential push comes because he couldn’t get Republican support in Congress to pass a drastic gun control law. Republicans plan to seize a surge in crime to attack the Democratic Party in order to regain control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.
Gun deaths in 2021 increased by 21% from last year. Public security experts fear that gun violence will be exacerbated this summer, when it surges with the advent of historically warm climates. The beginning of summer is consistent with the relaxed COVID-19 limits in most states that have resumed aspects of American life after a few months of shutdown.
White House spokesman Jen Psaki said Biden’s strategy has responded to gun violence, which began to increase five years ago, and has accelerated further in the last 18 months in the COVID-19 pandemic. Stated. Saki pointed out guns as the most serious threat, although other forms of violence have been reported to surge in some cities. robbery, Theft and drug crime rates Nationally, each declined during the first four months of 2021 from last year.
“We believe that the central drivers of violence are gun violence and the use of guns,” Pusaki said at a White House press conference Tuesday.
Biden pushing COVID rescue funds for police hiring
Biden’s plans include a new Department of Justice policy that will allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to revoke a federal license for gun dealers the first time they violate federal law. Violations can include selling guns to banned buyers, failing to perform the necessary background checks, and tampering with gun trading forms and other records.
USA TODAY / Trace Survey This month, ATF inspectors regularly documented violations in stores across the country, but found that they were only denied by senior officials to issue a warning letter instead of revoking their license. Biden is also demanding additional federal funding to hire more ATF inspectors and agents.
The Justice Department plans to target the illegal flow of firearms across state borders through the creation of five new firearm attack units. Authorities will coordinate with ATFs, cities and states to crack down on important gun trafficking corridors that have diverted guns to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Washington, DC.
Other parts of Biden’s strategy are:
► From the Biden COVID-19 rescue program approved by Congress in March, the Treasury has hired police officers and other law enforcement officers, prosecuted gun traffickers, and new technologies to combat gun violence. ..
► Biden announces new partnerships with 15 cities to expand federal and privately funded community violence intervention programs from charities. Biden has proposed $ 5 billion for such a program in his infrastructure and employment plans.
► The White House will work to expand summer employment, programming and other opportunities for young people and young adults. This month, Biden’s Ministry of Labor awarded $ 89 million through the Federal YouthBuild program for apprenticeships for people aged 16 to 24.
► The Biden administration has also identified steps to help previously imprisoned individuals enter the workforce. This is a $ 85.5 million Labor Department grant to improve access to work in 28 communities and assess potential barriers to preventing previously imprisoned people from being hired by the federal government. It is included.
Gun deaths increased 21% from last year
In the first 172 days of 2021, gun violence killed 9,420 Americans, killing an average of 55 people a day. According to the data collected by the gun violence archive, A research non-profit organization. The numbers include murder and accidental death of a gun, but not suicide.
This was about 21% more gun deaths than the 7,795 gun deaths as of 2020, making it the most deadly year in at least 20 years. Murder cases increased by 30% in 2020 in the country’s largest city. Here, there were 296 mass shootings in 2021, compared to 218 as of 2020.
Mark Bryant, Executive Director of the Gun Violence Archive, said: “We’ve been ahead for more than a month, but we don’t see anything that suggests it’s slowing down. In fact, it seems to be the opposite.”
Biden calls gun violence in the United States a “public health epidemic” and “national embarrassment.”
His latest gun effort is his first April action Tighten regulations on “ghost guns” and stabilize braces that make guns more deadly. Biden called on Congress to revive the ban on offensive weapons and pass a bill to close the loophole in gun background checks, but legislative efforts resisted evenly divided Senate Republicans. confronting.
Biden will make his remarks after meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland and local officials about the increase in crime. They include New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Rapid City, South Dakota Mayor Steve Arender, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
According to Psaki, in St. Louis, 96% of all murders so far in 2021 were due to guns. And in New York City, shootings increased by 77% from March 2020 to March 2021, she said.
Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, said the increase in gun violence would extend to both cities and suburbs, and to all regions. He expects it to increase further in the summer when more people go out to parties and consume alcohol.
“I don’t know if it will be worse than last year. Last year was pretty scary,” he said of the summer months. “Even if it’s as bad as last year, it’s really, really bad.”
According to Webster, the surge in gun violence preceded the pandemic, but recovered when the virus spread last spring, unemployment surged, schools were closed, and lives deteriorated. He said a black man in Minneapolis was killed by a white police officer and accelerated further in public unrest after the death of George Floyd, who protested nationwide.
In addition to these two major events, he said another factor in the surge in gun violence was more fundamental: more Americans have guns. Arrests for illegal gun possession have also increased since last year.
“Slightly conversely, the actions people take to protect themselves as individuals collectively do the opposite,” Webster said. “And I think that’s an important part of where we are now.”
For Biden, increasing crime also has political implications.
Republicans have long attacked Democrats for being vulnerable to crime. And in the 2020 elections, Republican candidates to link Democrats to the “police refund” slogan of progressive activists, even though Biden and many Democrats said they didn’t support the movement. I worked positively.
The Republican Party plans to double its attack line in the interim period of 2022.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Stephen Law, president and CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with, told USATODAY that the Republican Party would argue that “police defense” had changed from a rhetoric slogan to an aggressive policy pursuit. According to the Democratic Party of the Department. Republican Senate candidates will associate it with anxiety about the rise in violent crime.
“You have had a completely quiet problem for decades, and suddenly people notice it in their community and feel that it threatens them very personally,” Law said. Told. “We see the political problems that the Democrats suffered in 2020, and we can see that they have been greatly amplified, because they are now more of a problem than ever before.”
Staffwriters Phillip Bailey and Nick Penzenstadler contributed to this report. Contact Joey Garrison on Twitter @ joeygarrison.
This article was originally published in USA TODAY: President Biden announces new criminal strategy amid surge in gun violence