President Biden will unveil his crime-prevention strategy Wednesday addressing the surge of violent crime, consisting of several actions that focus mostly on targeting “rogue” gun dealers while his administration seeks to change the narrative to blame the national crime wave on guns rather than Democratic big-city push to defund the police.
During his Wednesday policy speech, Biden will announce a series of federal actions to combat gun violence. According to his “comprehensive strategy” plan, the Biden administration wants to hold what it calls rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws; invest in community violence intervention programs; expand employment opportunities for teens and young adults, and help former prisoners reenter their communities successfully.
Biden will also outline a new “zero-tolerance” policy for gun dealers who violate federal law that would be enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which could possibly be led by an anti-gun activist David Chipman if confirmed by the Senate. Under the plan, the ATF would police federally licensed gun dealers, revoking their licenses on the first offense instead of issuing a warning if they break any of the gun laws imposed such as, transfer a firearm to a prohibited person, fail to run a background check, falsify records, refuse to permit ATF to conduct an inspection or falsify records.
The Department of Justice announced Tuesday its new gun-trafficking crackdown federal plan to deploy “strike forces” to stem the flow of illegal guns into five major cities. Led by U.S attorneys and the ATF, the “strike forces” will launch within the next 30 days and cover major cities with lax gun laws — Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, DC, and New York City.
In addition to strengthening federal gun law enforcement, Biden will draw attention to the surge in gun violence as a pandemic-related crisis. According to the White House Fact Sheet, under the designation, city and state who previously received $350 billion as part of the $1.9 “American Relief Plan” COVID plan approved in March can now use the funds “to hire more officers,” as well as invest in programs and resources they believe will “reduce crime.” The Biden administration had previously told local leaders they could use the bailout funds to recruit new public employees but never encouraged those to personally hire or increase its law enforcement personnel.
However, under the Treasury Department’s guidance, there are a few conditions for using the relief funds as it is narrowly tailored to community policing. The funds must be used to advance “community policing strategies,” defined by the DOJ, and the funds can’t be used to staff police forces above their pre-pandemic levels.
In adding conditions to funds used for “community policing,” the Biden administration tries to avoid more infighting within his party. The idea that federal relief aid is being used to hire or fund more police officers would stoke anger amongst liberal Democrats, including Squad members.
Based on preliminary FBI data, the US murder rate in 2020 is expected to be an increase of 25 percent or more than in 2019. The average aggravated assault rate was 6.4% higher and the gun assault rate 8% higher. According to the FBI’s Quarterly Uniform Crime Report, in the last three months of 2020, homicides rose 32.2% in cities with populations of at least a million, as the nationwide homicide rate was 24% higher than it was in the same period of 2020 and 49% higher than two years ago.
The rapid surge of crime is alarming as it effectively erases decades of progress in combating violent crime, bringing the nation back to levels of homicide it hasn’t seen since the 1990s. According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released late last month, a majority of Americans polled are saying the surge of violent crime plaguing the U.S. is a “very big problem” compare to Covid-19, according to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released late last month. In addition, polls conducted ahead of New York City’s mayoral race have ranked public safety as a top concern for the next mayor’s decision.
Biden officials have repeatedly downplayed the spike in violent crime that began to rise in May 2020 is linked to the chaotic aftermath of mass anti-police protests and rioting along with the subsequent ‘Defund the Police’ push following the death of George Floyd. Instead, they have emphasized a Democratic repetitive talking, citing that the surge of crime rates is attributed to the economic conditions associated with widespread nationwide lockdowns at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
White House Press Secretary is taking the blame game to another level by repeatedly declaring that the rise in crime began to uptick “over the last five years,” but intensified “18 months ago,” saying the White House believes it is actually a result of the availability of guns.
However, the backdating contradicts Psaki “last five-year” rise claim as the mention appears to reference an uptick in certain types of crime that analysts have theorized the “Ferguson effect” following the beginning of nationwide unrest over the 2014 death of Michael Brown, resulting in police officers being hesitant to enforce certain laws over fears of being vilified.
“The 18-months ago” argument both Psaki and Democrats are pushing is also another contradiction, based on crime statistics in comparing the two periods in a side-by-side in which both incorporated in the timeframe. Comparing the crime data in the first five months of 2021 with the first five months of 2020 shows a significant jump in all violent crimes.
Republicans have emphasized the rise in crime is linked to progressive activists and some Democrats calling to “defund the police.”
“Clearly, the Democrats own defunding the police, and so I think Republicans all across the country are going to talk about it,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said.
Before delivering his strategy remarks, Biden is expected to meet with mayors, law-enforcement officials, and gun violence prevention advocates in the White House to discuss the rise in crime plaguing their jurisdiction.