US: Joe Biden lays out plan to tackle violent crime
Washington, June 24: US President Joe Biden announced a series of measures on Wednesday aimed at curbing a surge in violent crime.
Homicides rose by 24% in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous year.
Biden wants to impose stricter gun laws, but this faces strong opposition from the Republicans.
What did Biden say about tackling violent crime?
The president held a televised address from the White House following a meeting with both Democrat and Republican city mayors as well as Attorney General Merrick Garland. He vowed the government would be "taking on the bad actors doing bad things to our communities.''
Violent crime rose during the pandemic with major cities reporting spikes in shootings, homicides and armed robberies. The president warned of yet a further uptick going into the summer.
"As we emerge from this pandemic," Biden said, "an additional summer spike may even be more pronounced than it usually would be."
The proposed measures aim at gun dealers who supply of illegal firearms.
Biden said authorities would target "merchants of death," pointing out that nine of every 10 guns illegally sold in the US came from just 5% of gun dealers.
He also encouraged local authorities to divert leftover COVID-19 recovery funds to law enforcement.
The GOP continues to oppose gun control
Republicans, who have repeatedly shot down attempts to restrict access to guns, have tried to lay the blame for the rise in crime on calls for the defunding of police rather than the proliferation of deadly weapons.
"President Biden's answer: Propose even more gun control measures today that only harm law-abiding citizens," Congressman Richard Hudson tweeted. "Instead of gun control, we need to support our good police officers and end this #BidenCrimeCrisis."
Gun control laws have become an increasingly entrenched partisan issue with the Democrats trying on multiple occasions to restrict access to guns since the deadly Connecticut elementary school shooting in 2012, but Republicans have blocked the attempts.