President Joe Biden’s anti-gun measures have served to energize the GOP ahead of the December 2022 midterm elections.
The Biden administration continues a renewed push for gun control measures that have emboldened his critics and split the Democratic party.
Second amendment advocates have pounced on Biden’s focus on gun control issues and have accused him of attacking legal gun ownership in the United States.
Conservative lawmakers and activists argue that guns are not the cause of the increasing violence across the country. Rather, they blame Democratic calls to defund the police.
The administration, meanwhile, is trying to appease progressives without alienating them.
Progressives are wary that Biden’s push for gun control reform will undermine their push for bigger changes to law enforcement itself. This deepening of divisions within the Democratic party comes when Democratic control of Congress is razor-thin.
Many progressive Democrats have called for wide-reaching budget cuts in police funding. This is at odds with the Biden administration’s plan, which encourages cities to use COVID-19 relief funds for policing, including hiring more police officers.
Biden’s recently-announced anti-crime plan includes a “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers who are federally licensed and violate laws.
It also calls for creating “strike forces” to combat interstate weapons trafficking and increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The president explained that cities and states could use the $350 billion in funding from the “American Rescue Plan” to pay officers for overtime, hire officers or invest in measures such as technology aimed at curbing gun violence.
Biden also declared that it was “not a time to turn our backs on law enforcement.”
Second amendment advocates say that the gun control measures included in Biden’s anti-crime plan misrepresent the root cause of the crime wave. This issue, along with a summer surge in crime, leaves Biden and his fellow Democrats vulnerable heading into the 2022 midterms.
“One of the most potent criticisms over the last 40 years of Democrats is that they’re soft on crime and reluctant to crack down on crime,” said Republican political consultant Whit Ayers.
“This surge and the forces on the far-left talking about defunding the police feed into the suspicion that Democrats are simply not serious about combating crime.”
“Reasonable gun control measures like background checks could conceivably ward off some of the mass shootings we’ve experienced recently, but they will do nothing to thwart the crime wave plaguing our cities in recent months,” Ayers said.
The homicide rate has surged by 24% in 34 cities across the United States.
According to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, there were 193 more murders in the same three-month period of 2020.
American voters show growing concern about surging crime. According to a Fox News poll, more than 73% of Americans believe that crime is rising across the nation compared to one year prior.
The poll, conducted in May, showed that seventy-two percent of respondents said they had either a fair or great deal of trust and confidence with the police.