Washington — Last night, in a CNN Town Hall in Cincinnati, President Joe Biden was asked a question about his plan to reduce gun violence and crack down on illegal guns. He specifically referenced his work to curtail the sale of ghost guns.
Here’s what President Biden said about empowering the ATF to go after illegal guns:
“I’ve gotten ATF out, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I have them increase their budget and increase their capacity, along with the Justice Department, to go after the gun shops that are not abiding by the law of doing background checks.”
He added that the ATF is increasing its investment in reducing city gun violence by focusing on illegal gun trafficking and and cracking down on ghost guns:
“…it’s not because the gun shops in the cities are selling these guns. They are either shadow gun dealers and/or gun shops that are not abiding by the law. So we’re going to do major investigations and shut those guys down and put some of them in jail for what they’re doing, selling these weapons. There’s also a thing called ghost guns that are being sold now and being used.”
In April, the city of Chicago, represented by Everytown Law, sued Westforth Sports, Inc., a Gary, Indiana gun store alleged to have sold hundreds of illegal guns trafficked into Chicago. Westforth is alleged to be engaged in the exact type of illegal conduct by gun shops that President Biden spoke of in his town hall last night. The lawsuit alleges that the store repeatedly broke federal gun laws and ignored clear signs of straw purchases and gun trafficking, contributing to a public nuisance in Chicago, including in connection with dozens of sales in 2020 that resulted in federal criminal charges against the straw purchasers. The suit alleges that in the face of unmistakable indicators of illegal gun sales – including high volume, repetitive, and multiple-sale transactions involving duplicate or near-duplicate firearms – Westforth chose time and time again to look the other way and to falsify transaction forms, becoming a trusted source of firearms for traffickers and straw purchasers.
This is the strongest gun safety administration in history, as evidenced by President Biden’s historic executive actions to address gun violence, his long record of taking on the NRA and passing life-saving laws, Vice President Kamala Harris’ years of gun safety advocacy, and the unmatched gun sense cabinet they have built. President Biden has prioritized gun safety since entering office, from combating deadly, untraceable ghost guns, to the Department of Justice’s development of a strategy on reducing violent crime and a new, annual comprehensive report on firearms trafficking, to the new comprehensive strategy to address gun violence that includes efforts to fight gun trafficking and investments in community violence intervention programs. His administration’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 also included $200 million to a new community violence intervention program as a part of historic investments in gun safety.