Recently President Joe Biden announced a bold plan to address the rising violence and crime in America’s inner-city with a five-pronged plan that included stopping the flow of illegal firearms, disseminating federal funds to local law enforcement for both personnel support and investment in community violence intervention programs, expanding summer programming for teenagers and even helping formerly incarcerated individuals with reentry into society.
“Crime historically rises during the summer,” Biden said during an address at the White House. “And as we emerge from this pandemic with the country opening back up again, the traditional summer spike may even be more pronounced than it usually would be.”
While some of these efforts may have been long overdue, some critics of the efforts are claiming the administration is placing too much focus on firearms. Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced tougher enforcement policies for federal gun control laws. Biden also took aim at so-called “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines, which he cited were part of the “epidemic of gun violence.”
The president also reiterated his goal to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would allow gun makers to be sued when their products were used illegally such as in a crime or mass shooting event. Opponents of that move have suggested it would be similar to suing automakers for road rage and drunk-driving incidents. Biden also took aim at so-called “rogue dealers,” and called for “zero tolerance for gun dealers who willfully violate key existing laws and regulations.”
In the days since Biden made his calls to address gun violence, various critics have fired back. They have voiced their concerns about his dubious claims about the Second Amendment in newspapers and on websites. They note that he claimed that individuals weren’t allowed to own cannons. Other groups took issue with his statements and the calls to simply throw money at the problem while disarming the law-abiding populace.
“Biden took an opportunity to address the real problem of rising violent crime, and rather than look to real solutions, decided to blame the Second Amendment, law-abiding gun owners, and the legal manufacture of firearms,” the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) said in an editorial. “He could have pledged to go after the criminals who commit violent acts with firearms or promised to expand gun rights so that more law-abiding citizens will be able to exercise their right to self-defense against these same violent predators. Such actions have proven, real-world success in helping to address violent crime.”
Leaders in the black community also argued that Biden’s plan to reduce gun violence and other crimes could do more harm than good.
“This is an ongoing problem that is occurring not only in Grand Rapids but in cities all across the country,” Carlton Mayers II, the policing reform advisor for the Grand Rapids NAACP, told WoodTV.com. “It encourages over-policing of Black and brown communities, which ultimately results in the unnecessary harms and deaths of Black and brown people.”
“We are very much so not in support of just arbitrarily giving money to law enforcement and not to community resources to deal with gun violence and violent crimes,” Mayers added. “They can use the money not only to hire more police officers but also to use and purchase technology and other equipment. We’re very concerned about that.”
It could be argued that when both the NRA and NAACP are calling out your planned efforts, then that could suggest you didn’t put enough effort into the plans.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.