President Joe Biden arrived in New York City Thursday morning for a much-anticipated meeting with Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and other city officials on the outbreak of gun violence in the Big Apple.
After a delayed arrival due to the international crisis that saw a bombing in Syria which killed an ISIS leader, President Joe Biden touched down just before noon at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he stepped off of Air Force One and into an awaiting limousine, whisking him to police headquarters.
Outside One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan, far right protesters gathered as close as the NYPD would allow them to One Police Plaza where they waved signs bearing derogatory remarks at the president, and decrying COVID-19 safety mandates.
Inside, the president met with Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell on the spate of shootings plaguing the city, while also acknowledging the murders of Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora in the line of duty.
In a show of unified support, the president promised to supply the funding necessary not just toward public safety but also community policing and programing. Additionally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be launching an intensified ghost gun initiative that will see local, state, and federal prosecution–this spring the justice department will be issuing a final rule to regulate ghost guns.
To help combat the iron pipeline in every major city, President Biden stated that a strike force was created to crack down on illegal gun trafficking across the states.
“As the mayor said, as he pointed out, guns are used to kill people in New York City. They aren’t made in New York City. They aren’t sold in New York City. They are sold in other places. Today the Attorney General [Merrick Garland] directed all US attorneys in the United States to prioritize combating gun trafficking across state lines and city boundaries. The Justice Department is sending additional prosecutorial resources to help shut down what’s referred to, as you all know, the iron pipeline that funnels guns from shops in states like Georgia, crime scenes in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and so many other places,” President Biden said.
Mayor Adams called this meeting a necessary national response to the violence, similar to the way the entirety of the United States responded to the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“The president is here because he knows what the American people want. Justice, safety, and prosperity and they deserve every bit of it. And he wants to end gun violence in our city and in our country. In a future built on equality and opportunity because the lack of the two feeds the gun violence that we are seeing. Far too often when we advocate for this, Mr. President, people miss the part that we state: ‘We want to end inequality.’ Let’s stop being divisive and united to come together and deal with this fight. We are on the same page. There is a real reason they call me the Biden of Brooklyn,” Mayor Adams said.
According to Governor Hochul and Senator Gillibrand, approximately 90% of the guns used in deadly crimes are trafficked guns.
Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries concurred, that far too many weapons are illegally trafficked into New York City, which has 4% of the world’s population but 40% of the world’s guns.
“Mayor Adams, you say that gun violence is a sea fed by many rivers. Well, I put forward a plan to dam up some of those streams. You can count on me to be a partner in that effort,” President Biden said.
President Biden echoed his anger with the issue of illegal gun trafficking, particularly calling out the gun industry as the only organization that is somehow exempt from being sued by the public—that is due to their lobbying power, he said.
In addition, President Biden assured that the Justice Department will be working to have shared intelligence with state and local governments to get repeated gun offenders off the streets and behind bars. He hopes that the states utilize the $350 billion from the American Rescue plan toward hiring more officers, paying police overtime, and purchasing gun fighting technology (like shot spotters).
“I want to help every major city follow New York’s lead…everyday here in New York City, Federal, State and Local enforcement meet to share intelligence about arrests and shootings from the day before and work to take those shooters off the street as soon as possible,” President Biden said.
Another investment the president promised is into community services through the Department of Labor that will help educate, train, and create equal opportunities for youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, and overall, all New Yorkers. However, he also stressed that Congress needs to do their part and pass the Universal Background Check bill, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and repeal a liability shield for gun manufactures.
“It’s about intervention and prevention…that’s the collaboration we need to get guns off our streets,” Mayor Adams said, and he turned to the president stating, “Mr. President, Eric Adams is reporting for duty and ready to serve.”
After the meeting, President Biden headed to P.S. 111 in Long Island City, Queens, where he met with community leaders to discuss various violence prevention programs.