Biden speaks out on gun safety after son convicted of gun charges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden outlined his administration’s efforts to reduce illegal gun trafficking and reduce crime at a summit on gun violence prevention on Tuesday, just hours after his son Hunter was convicted of lying about his drug use to illegally purchase a gun. .

Biden issued a written statement saying he accepted the outcome of the case, but did not address the issue during a speech Tuesday to gun violence survivors, mayors, parents and educators . Biden was expected to return to Wilmington, Delaware later today to be with his son.

Biden praised survivors of gun violence for their determination to focus not on their anger, but on what they can do to prevent further tragedies.

Through their words and actions, Biden said survivors are ensuring that “all victims of gun violence are not forgotten.” They did not die in vain.

The Democratic president, facing a tough battle against former President Donald Trump to win a second term in November’s presidential election, highlighted his administration’s efforts to reduce crime as the second anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

This law was created following massacres at a Texas elementary school and a New York supermarket. It established new criminal offenses for the purchase of firearms by buyers who lie about the intended owner of the gun, among other provisions.

The Justice Department has charged more than 500 defendants with violating gun-trafficking and straw-purchasing provisions of a new gun safety law enacted two years ago, it said. the White House on Tuesday.

Biden praised preliminary data released by the FBI, which shows that murders decreased by 26% in the first quarter of 2024, while robberies decreased by almost 18% and violent crime overall decreased by 15%.

Biden’s speech was interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. The crowd became angry, but Biden urged patience, saying “innocent children have been lost.”

Democrats are deeply divided over Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza and the president regularly faces protests at public events.

The White House noted that the Trump administration saw the largest increase in murders on record.

Democrats largely support stricter gun laws as a way to reduce deaths from gun violence in schools and in cities across the country.

Republicans, with the support of the National Rifle Association, a gun rights group, largely oppose stricter laws, citing the right to bear arms established in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Trump, who last month won the support of the nation’s largest gun rights group, has pledged to dismantle gun regulations put in place by Biden.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Alistair Bell)