Washington, DC – President Joe Biden announced a plan to crack down on gun violence Wednesday that included making gun dealers and manufacturers liable for how their products are used, using federal stimulus funds to pay for more police and tax credits to incentivize businesses to hire convicted felons, along with a promise to provide housing and federal jobs for felons.
President Biden’s gun-control strategy, as outlined in a fact sheet from the White House on June 23, focused on stopping the flow of firearms into the country and between states, as well as cracking down on gun dealers.
The strategy called for a zero tolerance policy for gun dealers who violated federal gun laws that would result in revocation of their dealers’ licenses the first time they were caught breaking the law.
The violations being targeted include willfully transferring a firearm to a prohibited person, failing to run a required background check, falsifying records such as a firearms transaction form, failing to respond to a trace request from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), or refusing to let ATF conduct an inspection, according to the fact sheet.
The Biden administration said ATF will notify dealers who have had their licenses revoked of the proper process for transferring their remaining inventory to help “deter future unlawful activity.”
The strategy called for funding to add more ATF inspectors in every field division around the country, the press release said.
The plan directed ATF to better coordinate with state and local law enforcement officials, to provide ATF data to the 16 states who license or regulate gun dealers themselves, and to use data to identify problem areas and target inspections to better utilize federal resources.
The administration’s gun strategy highlighted the recent creation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) of multi-jurisdictional strike forces to crack down on the flow of guns between states.
The fact sheet also said ATF would be issuing “Best Practices” to law enforcement agencies to tell officers what to ask people with illegal guns to help track down where they got them.
President Biden’s plan also supported the commitment the White House made at an April Rose Garden ceremony to crack down on “ghost guns” and modified firearms.
The Biden administration urged Congress to pass a national “red flag” law so that family members or police could petition to temporarily bar people determined to be in crisis from accessing their own firearms.
The President also called on Congress and state lawmakers to repeal legal protections that give gun dealers and gun manufacturers special immunity from certain liability for their products so that victims of gun crimes can hold them accountable for the crimes, according to the fact sheet.
He also called on the U.S. Senate, again, to ban “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” in addition to passing legislation to strengthen the federal background-check system.
The fact sheet also said that President Biden had instructed DOJ to provide federal law enforcement support to state and local agencies to help with enforcement.
The initiative included having the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provide support in the form of data and agents, ATF embedding with local homicide units and expanding availability of its National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) Correlation Center, increased Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) efforts to disrupt gang activity and drug trafficking, and fugitive sweeps by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) focused on suspects wanted on local warrants for violent crimes.
The White House gun strategy urged state and local communities to use American Rescue Plan funding to pay for more police officers, even above pre-pandemic numbers as necessary in areas where crime has increased, according to the fact sheet.
The Biden administration’s document blamed the pandemic for the surge in violent gun crimes and has incentivized cities to launch community violence intervention (CVI) programs it claimed were proven to reduce violence by 60 percent.
President Biden’s strategy included significant investment in transitioning recently-incarcerated felons back into their communities, including setting aside funding and federal jobs for convicted felons, giving companies incentives to hire released inmates, and prohibiting federal agencies from asking job applicants about their criminal histories until after a conditional job offer has been made, the fact sheet said.
The White House plan also instructed the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency to address the housing needs of felons.
The White House said the President’s anti-gun violence initiatives were driven by a national desire to see a crackdown on illegal guns, The Washington Post reported.
“If you look at a number of cities across the country, it is actually driven by gun violence,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Tuesday’s press briefing.
“That’s impacting people’s lives, people’s communities, people’s families, people’s neighbors,” Psaki said.
FBI data showed that crime was down overall across the United States in 2020, but the murder rate was up 25 percent and violent crime had risen about three percent, The Washington Post reported.
President Biden recently announced he had chosen gun-control advocate David Chipman to head up the ATF and the fact sheet credited the administration for moving “historically quickly” to fill the opening.
However, Chipman has not yet been confirmed by the Senate, The Washington Post reported.