President Joe Biden has unveiled a plan that includes funding more police to combat a nationwide surge in homicides, which he blamed on lax gun control. He said officials in high crime areas can hire more law-enforcement personnel using coronavirus relief funding.
Mr Biden’s crime-fighting strategy calls for curtailing rogue gun dealers and firearms trafficking. Republicans are depicting Mr Biden’s Democrats as weak on crime, amid calls by left-wingers to defund the police.
Announcing his five-point strategy at the White House yesterday, the president urged cities and states to use $350bn of funding from a Covid-19 relief bill on public safety efforts, including adding more police officers, even beyond pre-pandemic levels.
Some members of Mr Biden’s party have amplified calls by Black Lives Matter activists to defund the police, though the president himself has resisted the slogan, which is unpopular with most voters.
During his remarks at the White House, the president also took aim at armed insurrectionists, saying they would “need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons” to take on the US government.
The Biden administration has proposed gun control as a remedy for violent crime, although Democratic bills in Congress to limit Americans’ access to firearms have been blocked by Republicans. The administration’s strategy also proposes investing in community violence intervention programmes, employment opportunities and summer activities for teenagers and young adults, and support for formerly incarcerated Americans re-entering their communities.