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Data: USA Facts, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The president unveiled his anti-crime plan Wednesday following a surge in violent crime across the country — particularly in big cities.

Why it matters: Part of the administration's plan involves cracking down on gun dealers. The U.S. has witnessed mass shootings on a weekly basis this year, according to Gun Violence Archive data.

By the numbers: Kentucky and Illinois were the top two for most firearm background checks in 2020, both numerically and per capita. Those checks are one of the best metrics for measuring gun buying in the U.S.

  • A record number of people were blocked from buying guns because of the background check system last year, at more than 300,000, the AP reported.
  • The number of background checks conducted each month has risen over the years, and March set a new record at nearly 4.7 million.

Go deeper

COVID-era criminals go free: Prosecutors dismiss cases as backlog mounts

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The pandemic slowed the criminal justice system to a crawl in much of the U.S., and now an increase in violent crime is straining the system even further.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has caused backlogs in criminal cases across the U.S. to swell, forcing district attorneys to focus on the most violent offenses — and decline, delay or deal down a slew of other cases.

U.S. violent crime rate rose for first time in four years in 2020

A police officer outside of a home in Farmingville, New York, in July 2021. Photo: Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

The estimated number of violent crimes in the United States rose for the first time in four years in 2020, according to statistics released by the FBI on Monday.

Why it matters: Legal experts told Axios' Russell Contreras that social-economic changes, like increases in unemployment, set off by the coronavirus pandemic likely contributed to the violent crime spike.

Updated 34 mins ago - World

Biden cleans up comments about Russia invading Ukraine

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden sought to clarify his suggestion that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine may not draw the same response as a large invasion, telling reporters Thursday that "Russia will pay a heavy price" if any troops cross the border.

Why it matters: Some officials in Kyiv saw Biden's comments as inviting Russian aggression.

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