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Biden touts new crime prevention strategy focused on gun control

FOX News logo FOX News 6/23/2021 Morgan Phillips

President Biden in remarks Wednesday said his crime prevention strategy would focus on strengthening background checks, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and boosting community policing. 

Biden met with state and local leaders and law enforcement officials ahead of his remarks to talk crime prevention strategy, amid a surge in violence in cities across the U.S. 

The White House has insisted curbing gun violence is key to tamping down a "staggering" surge of crime across the U.S. 

"Talk to most responsible gun owners they'll tell you there's no possible justification for having 100 rounds in a magazine," Biden said. 

The president also took aim at an argument used by Second Amendment advocates, that the right to self-defense needed to protect against potential government tyranny. 

"Those who say the blood of Patriots, you know, and all the stuff about how we’re gonna have to move against the government," Biden said. "If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons."

"We're not changing the Constitution. We're enforcing it," the president continued. 

Biden touted "zero tolerance" for gun dealers who willfully violate the law, and claimed that 90% of illegal guns found at crime scenes were traced back to 5% of gun dealers. 


Video: Biden administration to focus on gun violence as crime spikes in major cities (FOX News)

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The "zero-tolerance" policy targets federally licensed firearms dealers who "willfully" transfer a weapon to someone prohibited from owning one or ignore a tracing request from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF would seek to revoke the dealer's license after the first offense, a senior White House official said.

"If you willfully sell a gun to someone who's prohibited from possessing it, if you willfully fail to run a background check, if you willfully falsify a record ... my message to you is this: We'll find you and we will seek your license to sell guns," Biden said. 

"The gun lobby wants you to believe that cities that have the toughest gun laws still have the highest rates of gun violence...don't believe it," the president also said. He said he'd spoken with Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, a Democrat, who said most guns used in crimes in his city were bought elsewhere.  

Biden also touted "historic funding for crime prevention" in the $350 billion for state and local governments, from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, that can be used by cities to hire law enforcement officers, pay overtime, prosecute gun traffickers and invest in technology to make law enforcement more efficient. Officials said the Biden administration hoped cities would choose to use the money for alternatives to policing, too, and to invest in community policing models.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, ahead of the address, suggested Republicans are the ones who are for defunding the police because they voted against the relief package, which includes money for state and local governments. She reiterated that Biden never supported defunding the police. 

The administration has also taken aim at "ghost guns" and modified firearms, which are homemade firearms without serial numbers that can be used to trace them, making it difficult for law enforcement to determine where, by whom, or when they were manufactured and to whom they were sold.

The Justice Department’s ATF last month sought to update the legal definition of "firearm" in an effort to crack down on ghost guns. 

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Biden also pushed  hiring programs to keep young people busy and off the streets during the summer months, as they’re often both the target and perpetrators of such violence. Biden said such programs encouraged youth to "pick up a paycheck instead of a pistol." 

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