The Biden administration on Wednesday announced a comprehensive plan “to combat gun violence and other violent crime” as the number of homicides increases across the country.
Homicides surged by 30 percent in 2020, CNBC reported.
In the first quarter of 2021, the national homicide rate was 24 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2020 and 49 percent higher than the first quarter of 2019.
The increases corresponded with a nationwide push by Democrats to defund and restrict law enforcement in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May 2020 and the ensuing protests.
Biden, however, was focusing on gun control in his executive actions on Wednesday.
“President Biden believes that the surge in gun violence that has affected communities across the country over the last year and a half is unacceptable, and his Administration is moving decisively to act with a whole-of-government approach as we enter the summer months when cities typically experience a spike in violence,” the White House said in a statement.
It said the comprehensive strategy will implement “preventative measures that are proven to reduce violent crime, and attacks the root causes — including by addressing the flow of firearms used to commit crimes.”
The administration said it would be “taking immediate steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands” by:
• “Establishing zero tolerance for rogue gun dealers that willfully violate the law.
• “Maximizing the efficacy of ATF resources to crack down on rogue gun dealers violating our laws.
• “Launching multijurisdictional firearms trafficking strike forces.
• “Providing the public with additional data to promote transparency and accountability in enforcement of federally licensed firearms dealer policies.
• “Stemming the proliferation of ‘ghost guns’ and modified firearms.
• “Convening state legislators and Attorneys General regarding policy strategies to hold gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for their contributions to the flow of crime guns.”
The White House also said it would work to provide law enforcement with “the tools and resources needed to tackle gun violence.”
“As the President has repeatedly said, we are experiencing an epidemic of gun violence in this country. This violence robs us of loved ones and causes life-altering physical injuries,” the administration said.
“It causes lasting trauma, with cascading consequences for children, families, and communities. It steals our freedom, our sense of belonging and security, and has ripple effects for our economy.”
In addition to guns, Biden blamed “the secondary consequences of the pandemic” for the surge in crime.
The president was scheduled to deliver an address about the moves at 3:30 Eastern time Wednesday.
The White House said Biden will continue to call on Congress to take action against gun violence, but he is taking executive action because “he knows we cannot afford to wait a single day while lives are being taken.”
Some questioned Biden’s decision to focus on guns rather than policing.
“Even with this surge in crime, the Democrat push to defund the police lives on,” Republican National Committee spokesman Tommy Pigott told the Washington Examiner.
“It’s clear: For Democrat politicians, it’s your safety last, far-left activists first.”
Former Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp told the Examiner that Biden’s reluctance to call for sweeping gun control in the past came from “some nasty polling” about infringing on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
“That certainly didn’t stop them from pushing anti-gun zealot David Chipman on [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives],” Huelskamp said of Biden’s nominee to lead the bureau.
“But just like in 1994 and 2010, attacking America’s law-abiding gun owners is not going to be a winning electoral strategy for the Democrats,” he said.
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