In response to an increase in the number of fatal shootings
, President Joe Biden
's administration will launch a new crackdown on illegal firearms and direct funds to gun violence intervention
groups across the country, administration officials said Tuesday night.
Though crime statistics for 2020 are still incomplete, homicides increased 30% in major cities across the country in 2020, even as other types of crime appeared to fall, and those increases have continued in the first months of 2021.
In recent weeks, the administration has been working to develop crime-fighting policies, emphasizing the ability of states
and cities to hire and retain police
officers using aid included in the administration's coronavirus relief
Much of what Biden will announce on Wednesday will be aimed at combating gun trafficking. He has directed the Bureau of Alcohol
, Firearms, and Explosives to immediately revoke the dealer licenses of gun shops that violate federal law
by selling to a prohibited person or failing to conduct a required background check. (A USA Today investigation
published last month discovered gun dealers routinely keelhauling prohibited persons.)
The administration also intends to convene a meeting of state attorneys general and state legislators to discuss ways to circumvent federal laws designed to shield gun manufacturers from legal liability and to hold gun manufacturers and dealers accountable for "improper conduct."
Meanwhile, the Justice Department
has formed task forces to combat illegal gun trafficking in New York
, Los Angeles
, the San Francisco
Bay Area, and Washington
“Working with our local partners to combat violent crime
is one of the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland
, who will be present at Biden’s announcement. “Today, the department is taking another concrete step to combat violent crime and illegal firearms trafficking. Our firearms trafficking strike forces will investigate and disrupt the networks th
Biden will also not-so-subtly encourage localities to use the $350 billion in state and local pandemic
aid to combat crime. The Treasury Department intends to highlight how state and local governments can use federal aid to hire officials “even above pre-pandemic levels” or to pay for new technologies or additional overtime.
The administration is also working to direct funds toward gun violence intervention programs, which aim to work with potential offenders and victims to prevent shootings from occurring; studies show that these efforts can reduce violence by 60% or more.
The White House
also plans to announce a support group for 14 cities that will use some of their American Rescue Plan
aid to fund intervention efforts, led by domestic policy adviser Susan Rice and director of intergovernmental affairs Julie Chávez Rodriguez. Some of the nation's largest nonprofit organizations, including Melinda Gates
' Emerson Collective, the Ford Foundation, and Arnold Ventures, will also participate.
Finally, the administration intends to make it easier for ex-offenders to reintegrate into society by assisting them in finding jobs
, as well as by funding youth
summer job programs.