President Joe Biden traveled to New York City this month to sit down with Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul. The intention of his visit was to introduce new gun violence prevention measures that the White House says build on his “comprehensive strategy” to better the nation, outlined last June.
President Biden’s visit followed just days after two police officers were killed after responding to a domestic dispute by a suspect using an illegal firearm. Biden assured New Yorkers, and the rest of the country, that the government would intensify its war on gun violence by collaborating more closely with law enforcement and communities to curb the rise of violence.
Biden declared, “Enough is enough because we know we can do things about this. But for the resistance, we’re getting from some sectors of the government and the Congress and the state legislatures and the organizational structures out there – you know Mayor Adams [that] you and I agree, the answer is not to abandon our streets, that’s not the answer.”
Biden recounted how a total of 316 people were shot daily and 106 were brutally murdered, including 26 children, due to gun violence just this year.
In New York City in 2021, over twenty teens were shot and killed. A recent spike in weapons in schools paired with a shortage of School Safety Agents has led to 13 guns seized in schools. Guns and other weapons are being confiscated from children attending NYC schools on a near-daily basis. The rampant gun violence has led to many deaths in Black and Hispanic communities.
Biden’s trip, which he took with Attorney General Merrick Garland, highlighted a number of new Justice Department initiatives. One of these initiatives includes directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to boost resources allocated to district-specific violent crime strategies, as well as increasing personnel. With an increase of resources, he hopes to enhance task forces that target the illegal flow of guns on the East Coast.
“The answer is not to defund the police, it’s to give you the tools, the training, [and] the funding to be partners, to be protectors, [because the] community needs you,” Biden said to applause. “Police need to treat everyone with respect and dignity.”
Biden also announced that the Justice Department will make efforts today to focus on governmental indictments of the individuals and gangs who “criminally sell or transfer firearms used in violent crimes” and initiate a National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative to assist in the prosecution of those who use “ghost guns” to commit crimes.
“If you commit a crime with a ghost gun, not only are state and local prosecutors going to come after you but [you can] expect federal charges and federal prosecution as well. We’ve also created a strike force to crack down on illegal gun trafficking across state lines.”
The trip provided the president with an opportunity to counter accusations that he is lenient on crime, as well as to differentiate himself from those who would like to shift funding away from police agencies and into social spending programs.