President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday (23) a tightening of the inspection of arms sales in the United States and defended more means for the police. Both actions aim to contain an increase in gun deaths in the country, but generate unease for Republicans and Democrats.
Biden said he would strengthen the penalty for sellers who ignore procedures such as background checks. “We know that if there is a stricter application of background checks, fewer guns fall into the hands of criminals,” the president said.
“If you willfully sell a gun to someone who is prohibited from buying a failed background check, falsifies a record and does not cooperate with inspections, my message is: we will find you and take your license. sell guns, ”he said. “Death dealers are breaking the law to profit,” said the president, who has pledged zero tolerance for illegal arms sales.
Earlier this week, his government announced the creation of task forces to fight arms trafficking in the cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The United States is experiencing a high number of gun crimes. In 2020, the homicide rate in major cities increased by about 30% from the previous year. This year, 20,989 Americans died from gunshot wounds, more than half of them from suicide, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
Biden also advocated more money for local police: He asked local and state governments to use stimulus funds, approved in March, to hire more officers and invest in technology. He urged Congress not to try to block that direction.
By advocating for tighter gun control and stronger policing, Biden is creating friction with two rival groups. The right to bear arms is a thorny issue for the American right and for the Republican Party, which sees it as a symbol of freedom.
Already part of the Democratic Party wants the police budget cut, in order to avoid violent actions by agents, such as the death of George Floyd, a black man murdered by suffocation by a white policeman last year. Republicans oppose the measure and say it will make cities more precarious.
Wednesday’s announcement comes in addition to executive orders signed by Biden in April, in which he called on the Justice Department to crack down on “ghost guns” – homemade, not to be followed.
The president uses this type of measure to move his agenda forward without having to wait for approval from Congress, where the Democratic majority is narrow and Republicans oppose most gun control laws.
The Democratic administration faces growing impatience from activists who want Biden to act faster to tackle gun violence after pledging during his White House campaign to act on day one in office against what he called an epidemic.