Responding to a string of mass shootings and growing crime in the United States, President Joe Biden is taking new steps to control gun violence with a policy of “zero tolerance” for arms dealers and new funding for police and communities.
Biden in a speech Wednesday will announce new security measures for weapons and redirect a $ 350 billion share in COVID-19 funds to tackle crime, according to White House officials.
Funding can be used by cities to hire law enforcement officers, pay overtime, prosecute arms traffickers and invest in technology to make law enforcement more efficient, officials told the Associated Press. the Biden administration involved in the details of the plan.
The president believes “gun violence” is a “significant driver” of violent crime “in our communities and cities across the country,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters , at the announcement of the president’s announcement.
Biden will seek more transparency on gun data and better coordination between states and will meet Wednesday with heads of state, mayors, police officers and others to discuss ways to make communities safer.
Biden will ask Congress for more money for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency tasked with enforcing federal gun laws and regulating arms dealers, officials said. the White House.
The Department of Justice is launch strike forces in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC, to help stop illegal arms traffickers, based on an initiative launched last month.
Biden had issued executive orders in April directing the Department of Justice to take up on self-assembled “ghost guns” that do not have serial numbers and cannot be traced to their owners.
Police officers in the United States are fighting with growing crime and ongoing tensions between police and communities that homicides in large cities have increased by 30 percent and assaults with guns have increased by eight percent, according to data from the Criminal Justice Council cited from the White House.
“Many of us – if not most of us – are seeing an increase in crime, while at the same time, we hear calls for reform,” said Michael Harrison, Baltimore Police Commissioner of Cities in remarks Tuesday in a police forum.
“And some of these calls are on the verge of dismantling and defunding … while at the same time we swear to protect people,” Harrison said, according to the AP.
As Biden announces his anti-gun strategy, Congress is discussing major proposals for it police reform and background verification requirements for the purchase of weapons
There are limits to the controls that the president and Congress can seek to impose on guns in the United States. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of citizens to own weapons.
Biden has extensive political experience with the implementation of anti-crime and arms control measures that will help him while navigating the current divided U.S. policy on weapons and crime.
The latest rise in crime in the United States, which coincides with the coronavirus pandemic, has become a focal point of criticism of Biden by Republican politicians who are ready to characterize Democrats as “sweet for crime. “.
“The secondary consequences of the pandemic and the proliferation of illegal guns have led to increased violence over the past year and a half,” a senior government official told Reuters.
Biden was the main sponsor of a 1994 criminal bill that extended federal prisons, imposed a 10-year ban on assault weapons and led to harsher prison conditions for gang-related crimes and other crimes.
Over the years, Biden and his Democratic Party have taken criticism from the African American community for elements of the bill that have led to harsher sentences for drug crimes for Black Americans and Biden now supports condemnation reforms.
Meanwhile, bipartisan discussions in Congress over police reforms following the Black Lives Matter protests that swept the United States in 2020 could come to a conclusion.
It remains unclear whether Republicans and Democrats, who have come a long way on key issues, will be able to agree on a package of police reform reforms this year.