Jun 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration to launch drive tackling gun violence spike

Photo of Joe Biden in a blue suit walking with his head bowed and a black binder in one arm

Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday will announce new strategies to prevent and respond to gun violence, according to senior administration officials.

Why it matters: Officials say the pandemic has seen a surge in gun violence, with the U.S. witnessing mass shootings on a weekly basis this year, per the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. Homicides jumped 30% in large cities in 2020, officials said.

What's happening: The administration will implement a new policy to revoke licenses from dealers the first time they violate federal law, barring extraordinary circumstances. It will also:

  • Set aside $350 billion from the American Rescue Plan in state and local funding to advance community policing strategies, such as investing in new technologies and bolstering prosecutions of gun traffickers.
  • Launch a collaborative comprised of 15 different jurisdictions that will invest their federal funds into community violence intervention programs.
  • Expand resources for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives resources designate a point of contact in every field division so mayors, police or other local leaders can report concerns about specific dealers' compliance with the law.
  • Launch five multi-jurisdictional firearms trafficking strike forces to stem the flow of guns between cities and states.
  • Expand summer programs, employment opportunities and other services for young people so they are "productively engaged" and less likely to commit crime.
  • Help formerly incarcerated people successfully reenter their communities and transition to employment, which will include housing assistance and the appointment of a formerly incarcerated person to a DOJ role focused on reentry issues.

Between the lines: Officials emphasized that "no one size fits all" and said states and cities should invest in the tools that make sense for their communities.

Be smart: The package for policing strategies could put Biden at odds with Black Lives Matter activists who have called for defunding police.

The big picture: The new set of initiatives follow Biden's initial executive actions, which were announced in April after weeks of high-profile mass shootings.

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