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Guns are displayed on a table during a gun buy-back event in Staten Island on April 24, 2021. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday its plan to combat illegal gun trafficking in five U.S. cities by creating a new firearms trafficking strike force.

The big picture: The announcement comes as President Biden is expected to discuss a broader crime-fighting strategy Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: Law enforcement officials will seek to interrupt the flow of guns illegally brought into New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C., places where officials say a substantial portion of guns used in crimes come from elsewhere, per the WSJ.

  • The strike forces will be led by U.S. Attorneys who will coordinate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and with state and local law enforcement partners.

What they're saying: "Working with our local partners to tackle violent crime is one of the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a press release.

  • “Our firearms trafficking strike forces will investigate and disrupt the networks that channel crime guns into our communities with tragic consequences," Garland said.

Driving the news: Murder rates have been trending up over the last year in large and small U.S. cities, Axios' Bryan Walsh reports.

  • A sample of 37 cities with data available for the first three months of 2021 collected by the crime analyst Jeff Asher indicates murders are up 18% over the same period in 2020.

Go deeper

Chipman on ATF nomination: It was "impossible to win, or the strategy failed"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

David Chipman, whose nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was ultimately withdrawn, told the New York Times that the lack of communication from the White House often made him feel alone and on "an island" amid attacks from pro-gun groups.

Driving the news: Chipman, a gun control advocate, was nominated by President Biden to head the agency in April. His nomination, however, faced widespread opposition from Senate Republicans, as well as Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.

3 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.