President Biden to Mark New Milestone in Illegal Gun Prosecutions at Gun Safety Summit

Less than two years after President Joe Biden signed the law into law Safer Communities Actbipartisan legislation expanding background checks for gun sales and cracking down on illegal trafficking efforts, the Justice Department has indicted more than 500 defendants for violating provisions of that law.

Among those charged under the first-ever federal law specifically targeting illegal gun trafficking and straw buying were a New Mexico Man who admitted to illegally buying and selling “hundreds” of firearms, a Pennsylvanian sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking in ghost weapon “hit kits”, and five individuals from Texas who allegedly sold military-grade firearms to a Mexican drug cartel.

“Criminals rely on illegal gun dealers and straw buyers to obtain the weapons they use to harm our communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Monday evening. “The Department of Justice is using the new tools given to us in the bipartisan Safer Communities Act to hold those who fuel gun violence accountable.”

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A police officer’s back is shown as he looks toward a patrol car with flashing lights.


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President Biden will highlight the prosecution milestone during his speech Tuesday afternoon at Everytown’s “Gun Sense University” summit in Washington, D.C., an annual event hosted by the gun safety group and its partners to share organizing strategies and train volunteers. Although Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at the group’s conference last year in Chicago, Tuesday’s event marks the first time a sitting president has attended, which organizers billed as a testament to of the administration’s commitment to gun violence prevention.

“The president will be here to support and really support these strong volunteers who are going to continue their work in states across this country, especially as the election approaches,” Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms. Demand Action, told Scripps News in an interview. “We know how critical this is and how far-reaching the election is on the issue of gun safety in this country. »

During his speech, President Biden is expected to tout his administration’s actions on gun safety. Beyond his advocacy for a Safer Communities Act, the president has implemented executive orders aimed at cracking down on illegal gun sellers and created the nation’s first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention. White House, charged with encouraging state and local policy changes to promote collaboration on this issue.

Harris, who chairs the task force, met last week with survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, many of whom are set to graduate from high school more than 11 years after a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children. Newtown, CT.

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At a campaign event in Maryland last Friday, Harris addressed the issue of gun regulation head-on, arguing that it was a “false choice to suggest that one must be in favor of the Second Amendment or want to take weapons away from everyone.”

Indeed, the Biden campaign is seeking to compare the president’s record on gun safety to that of former President Donald Trump and to highlight the broad appeal of gun violence prevention measures. In a memo released Tuesday, Biden-Harris campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz called attention to Trump’s comments. ties to the NRAarguing that the former president “will choose special interests and the gun lobby over our security every time.”

A Trump campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about Munoz’s comments.

President Biden’s participation in the summit comes a day after the FBI released quarterly crime and use of force data for the first part of 2024. From January to March, violent crime overall decreased by 15% compared to the same period last year. year, the agency said, with murder and rape each down 26 percent, robberies down 18 percent and aggravated assault down 13 percent.

“The progress we are seeing is no accident. My administration is putting more cops on the ground, holding violent criminals accountable, and taking illegal guns off the streets – and we’re doing it in partnership with communities,” President Biden said in a statement touting the data.