President Joe Biden met with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul today, Feb. 3, to collaborate on ways to help combat gun violence. Several projects are on the table, including the new National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative and providing funds to hire more law enforcement and mental health officials.
“Every day in this country, 316 people are shot, 106 are killed,” the president noted. There were 64 children injured by gunfire this year so far and 26 killed, he added. “Enough is enough.” Biden announced he has many programs in the works to help not just New York City but every major metropolitan area that is suffering high gun violence.
Biden said he is excited to be working with Mayor Adams, who also agrees that the way to fight against the uptick in violence is not to defund the police.
“I’ll keep doing everything in my power to make sure the communities are safer, but Congress needs to do its part too,” Mr. Biden exclaimed, outlining what Congress needs to:
- Pass universal background checks.
- Ban assault weapons with high-capacity magazines.
- Close loopholes that keep weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers.
- Repeal liability shield for gun manufacturers. “The only industry in America that is exempt from being sued by the public,” the president exclaimed.
Biden’s proposed $300 million budget to increase funding for local communities and policing programs is currently stalled in Congress.
The president also had a message for members of the press regarding background checks:
“Again, for any of the press that’s listening, this doesn’t violate anybody’s Second Amendment right. … “No Amendment is absolute. When the Amendment was passed, it didn’t say anybody could own a gun and any kind of gun and any kind of weapon. You couldn’t buy a cannon when this Amendment was passed. So there’s no reason why you should be able to buy certain assault weapons.”
Biden explained that the National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative will “determine and deter criminals from using those weapons and cover their tracks.” Not only will buyers be criminally charged by local and state laws, but also on a federal level.
President Biden arrived in New York to discuss gun violence and the rise in crime in the Big Apple just one day after the funeral of officer Wilbert Mora, who – along with his partner, Jason Rivera – was shot while responding to a domestic call in Harlem on January 21.
During an earlier press briefing, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, “Why not go to one of the officers’ funerals if you’re going to come to New York and show support for the law enforcement?” Psaki skirted around the inquiry, saying the trip had been coordinated with Mayor Adams’ office.
Psaki continued, saying, “I’m sorry for people who feel they need to be critical, but the president has been a longtime advocate of addressing crime. He’s never been for defunding the police.”
Crime has skyrocketed across the nation, and NYC has already seen six police officers shot this year. Four were shot in the same week, with Mora and Rivera ending in fatalities. In 2021, the city recorded 485 murders.
Barely a month into the new year, there has already been a deadly subway incident in which a person was shoved in front of a train in Times Square, a baby hit by a stray-bullet, and a robbery turned deadly at Burger King to name a few. Rivera’s widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, publicly criticized the D.A. at her husband’s funeral for being soft-on-crime.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.