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Politics

Biden’s new crime plan revealed

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Headshot of <p class="author-name text-name1">Alex Peebles</p> />
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					<p class=Alex Peebles

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is announcing new efforts to stem a rising national tide of violent crime as administration officials brace for what could be a turbulent summer, focusing on attacking gun violence, providing money to cities that need more police and offering community support.

The worry over crime is real: It has created economic hardship, displacement and anxiety. But there are also tricky politics at play. The spike in crime has become a Republican talking point and has been a frequent topic of conversation on conservative media.

White House aides believe that Biden, with his long legislative record on fighting crime as a senator, is not easy to paint as soft on the issue, and the president has been clear that he is opposed to the “defund the police” movement, which has been effectively used against other Democrats to cast them as anti-law enforcement.

But Biden also is trying to boost progressives’ efforts to reform policing, following a year of mass demonstrations and public anguish sparked by the killing by police of George Floyd and other Black people across the country. And while combating crime and reforming the police don’t have to be at odds with each other, the two efforts are increasingly billed that way.

Biden will try to do both at once, according to senior administration officials who detailed his upcoming address on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

In his speech Wednesday, Biden will announce a “zero tolerance” policy — not to be confused with the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration that separated thousands of children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. This one gives no leeway to gun dealers who fail to comply with federal law — their license to sell will be revoked on the first offense.

The president has already announced a half-dozen executive actions on gun control, including cracking down on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and that are often purchased without a background check.

But Biden is limited in his power to act alone. The House passed two bills requiring background checks on all firearm sales and transfers and allowing an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases. That legislation faces strong headwinds in the Senate, where some Republican support would be needed for passage.

In the meantime, Biden will also seek increased transparency on gun data and better coordination among states, and he will push Congress for more money for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency responsible for enforcing federal gun laws and regulating gun dealers. The Justice Department is also launching strike forces in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., to help take down illegal gun traffickers, building on an initiative begun last month.

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Gwen Baumgardner: WE TOLD YOU IT WAS COMING — AND THIS MORNING, WE HAVE NEW DETAILS ON PRESIDENT BIDEN’S PLAN TO FIGHT CRIME.
THE PLAN FOCUSES ON THREE THINGS.
ATTACKING GUN VIOLENCE–
GIVING MONEY TO CITIES THAT NEED MORE POLICE —
AND OFFERING COMMUNITY SUPPORT.
THE PRESIDENT IS LOOKING TO TOW A FINE LINE.
TRYING TO AVOID REPUBLICAN ATTACKS OVER CALLS TO DEFUND THE POLICE.
WHILE AT THE SAME TIME — TRYING TO BOOST PROGRESSIVE’S EFFORTS TO REFORM POLICING — IN THE WAKE OF PROTESTS OVER THE POLICE KILLINGS OF BLACK PEOPLE.
BIDEN IS EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE THE PLAN IN A SPEECH LATER TODAY — AND WE’LL CARRY IT LIVE RIGHT HERE ON STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.