Politics Federal gun trafficking strike forces launched in five cities
White House memo urges cities to use coronavirus funds to combat crime
White House officials sent a memo to state and local officials on Monday urging them to use funds from President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to reduce crime and combat gun violence at a time when U.S. cities are seeing a spike in violent crime.The memo outlines how states and cities can take advantage of funds allocated through the rescue plan to support law enforcement, invest in community-based violence interventions, enforce gun laws and assist those who have been incarcerated to reenter their communities. It builds on a strategy that Biden outlined last month.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday officially launched federal gun trafficking strike forces in five U.S. cities as part of the Biden administration's efforts to reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal sales.
The DOJ said that the start of the effort, which was , will be a cross-jurisdictional partnership between the U.S. Attorneys, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and state and local law enforcement "to focus enforcement against entire trafficking networks, from the places where guns are unlawfully obtained to the areas where they are used to commit violent crimes."
NRA Celebrates 25 'Bad Gun Control Bills' Killed in Florida Amid Rise in Violent Crime
"Remember this as the scourge of gun violence continues to grow in Florida and across the country," one Florida state representative responded."As we celebrate passage of three (3) pro-gun bills in the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, we should also be celebrating the fact that 25 very bad gun control bills were killed (10 House Bills & 15 Senate Bills) without ever getting to the House or Senate floor," Marion Hammer, the gun-rights group's longtime Florida lobbyist, said in a statement to members.
The initial strike forces in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. will work to stop guns traveling from areas where it is easier to obtain firearms to places with more restrictive gun laws.
The DOJ said in a statement that Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will be visiting the ATF headquarters Thursday to kick off the strike forces and will "meet virtually with law enforcement leaders in key strike force market cities."
Monaco is also scheduled to tour the ATF Crime Gun Intelligence Mobile Command Center in D.C.
Later Thursday, Garland will travel to Chicago to visit a Police Department Strategic Decision Support Center, and will attend a listening session made up of participants in "a group that offers innovative programming to reduce gun violence," the DOJ said.
David Chipman Is Unfit to Lead the ATF
The nominee has a record of hostility toward gun owners, and the Senate should reject him.After spending 25 years at the ATF, retiring as a special agent in 2012, Chipman found work as a high-profile and zealous anti-gun activist, working with numerous anti-gun outfits, including Giffords, where he is employed as a senior adviser. There is, of course, nothing inherently unethical about gun-control activism, even if we happen to disagree with the goals of the movement. Yet, it’s quite another story to empower such a political operative to run the agency tasked with upholding gun laws.
The attorney general is scheduled to meet Friday with Illinois-based DOJ officials in the U.S. Attorney's offices to help further launch the strike forces in the area.
The DOJ in its announcement of the strike forces last month said the effort is "part of the administration-wide comprehensive strategy to combat the rise in violent crime."
"This effort reflects our shared commitment to keep communities safe," Garland said in a statement at the time. "Our firearms trafficking strike forces will investigate and disrupt the networks that channel crime guns into our communities with tragic consequences."
The Biden administration faces mounting pressure to address reported surges in violent crime in 2020, including a rise in homicide rates and the number of shootings across the country.
President Biden last month unveiled a sweeping strategy to address gun violence and repeated calls for Congress to pass a federal assault weapons ban and strengthen background check measures for firearm purchases.
Cities have also launched their own efforts to address gun violence.
In Chicago, the police department on Monday of a new 50-officer team aimed at targeting gun traffickers, straw buyers, disreputable licensed firearm dealers and others who help bring illegal guns into the city.
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The Education Department plans to review an accrediting agency that approved a college with suspected ties to sex trafficking, after our investigation.The American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine remains accredited, which means its students can take out federal student loans or Pell grants. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has approved the college's ability to receive federal money.