Biden: 2nd Amendment has always limited what type of gun you could own
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLBT) - President Joe Biden introduced a new strategy Wednesday to crack down on gun violence.
He, along with Attorney General Merrick Garland, outlined plans, which include forming new strike forces to combat illegal gun trafficking across city and state lines, setting aside funds to hire police officers, and cracking down on “rogue” gun dealers who sell guns without performing background checks.
U.S. Attorney’s offices across the country are also partnering with local and state law enforcement agencies to craft strategies to combat the expected rise in crime that comes during the summer months.
“Crime historically rises during the summer and as we emerge from this pandemic, with the country opening up again, the traditional summer spike may be more pronounced than it normally would be,” Biden said.
Biden went on to say the federal government is also making available some $350 million from the American Rescue Plan for cities with rising gun violence to hire police officers, pay overtime and purchase technology to fight crime.
It was unclear how much funding would be available for the capital city, but it is likely Jackson would be eligible for some funding, with 2020 being Jackson’s deadliest year on record in terms of homicides.
The city is also dealing with a continued police shortage. Last August, a WLBT investigation found the Jackson Police Department had just 155 active-duty police officers.
Meanwhile, the president voiced his continued support for banning assault rifles. However, he stopped short of saying he would issue an executive order on a ban, holding out hope Congress will pass one.
“I’ve been at this for a long time. There are things we know that work to reduce gun violence and violent crime and things we know don’t work,” Biden said. “Background checks for purchasing a firearm are important. A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines... No one needs to have a weapon that fires 30, 40, 50, or even up to 100 rounds unless you think the deer are wearing Kevlar vests... and community policing and programs that keep neighborhoods safe and folks out of trouble.”
Biden went on to say that the Second Amendment has always placed limits on gun ownership.
“From the day it passed, it limited the type of people that could own a gun and what type of gun you could own,” he said. “You couldn’t own a cannon... If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”
Garland said the Department of Justice has already issued rules to address “ghost guns,” and rules to make pistols with “certain stabilizing braces” subject to the same regulations as short-barrel rifles.
Ghost guns are sold as kits and include the parts needed to build weapons at home. The weapons do not have serial numbers and cannot be traced, according to Bradyunited.org.
The president and attorney general released details of the plan after meeting with what Biden said was a bi-partisan group of mayors, police chiefs, attorneys generals, and community organizers.
Garland said the strategy is built around four principles: setting enforcement strategies; building trust in the community; investing in intervention and interruption programs; and, measuring the results of the effort by the drops in violent crime, and not just arrests and convictions.
Speaking to local leaders, Garland said much of the work will focus on supplementing the law enforcement efforts in local communities.
The strategy will include initiating proceedings to pull licenses from dealers who, among other things, willfully fail to perform background checks, wilfully falsify records, and refuse to permit ATF inspections. Additionally, ATF has established five new cross-jurisdictional units to combat firearm trafficking along corridors that “fuel violence” in New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, and cities in between, Garland said.
Federal dollars are also being set aside to help court systems tackle case backlogs, fund evidence-based violence interruption strategies, and help prisoners once they are released from jail.
Many court operations ground to a halt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic, Hinds County was plagued with a backlog of cases and overwhelmed staff.
Senior Circuit Judge Tomie Green said an additional four circuit judges were needed for the court to deal with its caseload.
Biden said he will continue to push for “sensible” gun legislation, saying that gun violence should not be a partisan issue. “This shouldn’t be a red or blue issue. It is an American issue,” he said. “We’re not changing the constitution, we’re enforcing it. We’re taking on the bad actors who are doing (these things) to our communities.”
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba was not immediately available for comment.
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