Statement by President Joe Biden


Additional efforts to decrease gun crime and make communities safer have been announced by the Biden Administration today. This plan builds on the President's efforts to stop the flow of guns used in crimes, strengthen federal, state, and local law enforcement, invest in community-based programs that prevent, interrupt, and reduce violence, expand opportunity, lower recidivism, and increase funding for community policing since the start of his administration.

The President is dedicated to becoming a strong partner in the fight against crime for communities on the front lines. That's why his American Rescue Plan provides cities and states with unprecedented resources to hire additional cops and engage in community-based violence prevention and intervention programs.

President Biden also appreciates the critical role played by federal law enforcement in assisting local law enforcement, particularly in preventing the interstate movement of guns used in crimes, such as the gun used in the unfortunate recent fatal shooting of two NYPD policemen. The Department of Justice has established five gun-trafficking task teams, one of which is based in New York City, as well as a statewide plan to combat violent crime that has concentrated on removing violent criminals and thousands of crime guns from the streets during the past year.

Stronger law enforcement is important in preventing gun crime, but it's much more successful when we engage in building stronger communities and addressing the causes of crime before it turns violent. That's why President Biden's holistic strategy ensures that cities and states have the resources, training, and expertise they need to invest in tried-and-true strategies like community policing, street outreach by credible messengers, hospital-based intervention, and youth programs. It's also supported by increased financing to provide economic opportunities through job training, improve after-school programs, and give stable housing and other stabilizing supports to help formerly jailed individuals return their communities. That's why the President is still pleading with Congress to act on his $300 million budget request.

This strategy, when taken as a whole, increases and focuses law enforcement efforts on violent offenders, combats illicit gun trafficking, and makes genuine investments in communities to intervene in and prevent gun violence. The President understands that a complicated and tragic situation like the rise in gun crime we've witnessed in the last two years necessitates an ambitious, evidence-based response that employs all available tools, which is exactly what his plan provides.

The President’s Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Gun Crime

President Biden presented a five-part, comprehensive strategy in June to address the continuing rise in gun crime that cities around the country have seen since the pandemic began. The president's plan is as follows:

  • Stops the flow of guns that are used to perpetrate crimes.

  • To combat violent crime, provides federal tools and resources to local law enforcement.
  • Invests in community violence initiatives that are based on evidence.
  • Expands summer programming, career opportunities, and other services and supports for teenagers and young adults, as well as assisting recently jailed people in reentering society.

New Actions to Implement the President’s Comprehensive Strategy

Increasing Efforts to Enforce Gun Laws and Keep Guns out of the Hands of Dangerous People

The US Department of Justice announced a series of critical new initiatives today to help local law enforcement partners combat gun crime and prevent the flow of firearms used to commit violence. The Department of Justice will:

  • Direct every US Attorney's Office in the country to enhance resources committed to district-specific violent crime techniques as a top priority. The Justice Department will collaborate with state and local law enforcement to address the most serious sources of violence in each district, including removing repeat gun violence perpetrators from the streets. One of the methods Justice will assist expand nationwide is New York City's Gun Violence Strategic Partnership, which the President and Attorney General will visit today with Mayor Eric Adams.

  • Strengthen the Justice Department's multijurisdictional task forces that target interstate firearms trafficking by adding personnel and other resources to combat the "Iron Pipeline" – the illegal flow of guns sold in the south, transported up the East Coast, and found at crime scenes in cities from Baltimore to New York City.
  • Establish a Nationwide Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative to train a national cadre of prosecutors and disseminate investigation and prosecution tools to aid in the prosecution of people who use ghost weapons to commit crimes.
  • Pursue illegal gun sellers who get guns into the wrong hands by prioritizing federal prosecutions of those who criminally sell or transfer firearms used in violent crimes, including unlicensed dealers who sell guns to criminals without performing the mandatory background checks.

Today, the President reiterates his call for Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement on FY22 appropriations, which include a half-billion dollars in new funding for proven strategies that have been shown to reduce gun crime, including a $300 million increase for the COPS Hiring Program and $200 million for evidence-based community violence interventions. Faced with a sustained increase in gun crime since the outbreak began, localities throughout the country can no longer wait for Congress to give the resources sought by the President in his FY22 Budget to save lives.

Building on Progress: One Year of Action to Reduce Gun Violence

The Administration's progress to implement the President's comprehensive gun crime reduction policy over the last seven months is summarized here. A detailed summary of the Administration's first year of gun violence prevention efforts may be seen here.

  1. Putting a stop to the flow of weaponry used in acts of terrorism. The Justice Department established a new policy in June 2021 that emphasizes zero tolerance for deliberate violations of the law by federally licensed gun dealers that endanger public safety. The Justice Department formed five new law enforcement strike forces in July, all of which are aimed at combating major firearms trafficking corridors that have diverted guns to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. These strike groups have already initiated over 540 investigations and seized about 3,100 illegal firearms. Last year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) of the Justice Department proposed a rule to help prevent the spread of "ghost guns," which are unregistered, privately created firearms.
  2. Providing federal tools and resources to local law enforcement to combat violent crime. The Biden Administration made historic levels of funding available from the American Rescue Plan – $350 billion in state and local funding – for law enforcement purposes such as hiring more officers, investing in retention strategies, and paying overtime to advance community policing strategies in communities experiencing an increase in gun violence associated with the pandemic. Additionally, funds were made available for prosecuting gun traffickers, rogue dealers, and other parties involved in the supply of crime guns, as well as coordinated federal/state/local efforts to identify and disrupt gun trafficking pathways. Cities across the country have responded to this request, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Syracuse, New York, and Mobile, Alabama.
  3. Investing in community violence initiatives that are evidence-based. President Biden proposed $5 billion in funding for the Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to invest in community violence interventions, which are evidence-based programs that have been shown to help reduce violent crime, as part of his Build Back Better agenda. While seeking to secure this financing, the Biden Administration is expanding neighborhood violence interventions with current resources. The Biden Administration, for example, made cash from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) – $350 billion in state and local financing and $122 billion in K-12 funding – available to CVI in unprecedented amounts. A note from senior White House advisers was also sent to state and local governments, describing how they can – and should – spend ARP funding.
  4. Summer programs, job opportunities, and other services and supports for teenagers and young adults are being expanded. The Biden Administration has made historic levels of funding from the American Rescue Plan available for purposes such as hiring nurses, counselors, and social workers; providing court personnel and operations costs to return to pre-pandemic levels; and providing and expanding employment services, including summer jobs for young people and programs that provide training and work experience.
  5. Assisting formerly jailed people in successfully reentering society. The Department of Labor announced on June 21 that it would award $85.5 million to help formerly imprisoned adults and young people in 28 areas transition out of the criminal justice system and find good jobs. This included $60 million for adult Pathway Home projects that begin while participants are still incarcerated and continue after they are released, as well as $25.5 million in Young Adult Reentry Partnership grants to organizations that serve young adults 18-24 who have been involved with the justice system or who dropped out before graduating from high school. The President's budget plan for FY22 proposes for a $150 million increase in these incentives for reentry employment opportunities. Employers have received training and technical assistance from the Treasury and Labor Departments.

In addition, the President's House-passed Build Back Better Act contains $1.5 billion in grants to assist formerly jailed people in finding decent occupations and reentering society successfully. Hundreds of thousands of good-paying employment will be created as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which formerly jailed people will be eligible to apply for. Finally, President Biden directed the Office of Personnel Management to evaluate barriers to federal employment for formerly incarcerated persons and actions to reduce these barriers, including educating and partnering with agencies to leverage hiring authorities to bring formerly incarcerated individuals into the federal government, in his Executive Order on Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.

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