The White House announced a massive plan to slow the rise in gun violence in the United States on Wednesday, including gun control measures, support for law enforcement, and assistance for formerly incarcerated individuals re-entering society.
The administration of President Joe Biden says it will launch community violence intervention programs in more than a dozen communities to provide financial and other assistance in the fight against gun violence.
Biden and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland will detail the strategy during a news conference at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
According to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, homicides in the largest U.S. cities increased by 30% in 2020, while gun assaults increased by 8%. While the commission reported that homicide rates had slowed in the first quarter of 2021, they were still higher than in previous years’ first quarters, 24% higher in 2020 and 49% higher in 2019.
“As the president has repeatedly said, we are experiencing an epidemic of gun violence in this country,” the White House said in a statement. “This violence robs us of loved ones and causes life-altering physical injuries. It causes lasting trauma, with cascading consequences for children, families, and communities.”
Biden’s plan aims to hold “rogue” firearms dealers responsible for violating federal gun laws, give law enforcement resources to address traditional summer increases in crime, invest in community violence interventions, support unemployment and youth programs and assist initiatives that help formerly incarcerated people successfully re-enter the community.
The plan would also task the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with addressing the flow of weapons used in violent crimes. It would also equip states with gun dealer licensing data, create a firearms trafficking strike force, ban homemade “ghost guns” and call on state lawmakers to manage gun dealers.
Biden’s plan would further provide funds to hire more police officers and invest in community programs that work directly with communities most affected by gun violence.
Cities identified by the White House for community intervention include Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, La.; Chicago; Detroit; Los Angeles; Memphis; Minneapolis; Newark; Philadelphia; Rapid City, S.D.; the Seattle area; St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
Gun violence has risen significantly in the United States in 2021 after a year affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Several people have been killed in mass shooting attacks in a number of cities so far this year, including Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., in March and San Jose, Calif., last month. Each of the attacks prompted Biden and Democratic lawmakers to call on greater measures to control gun violence.