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Justice Department rolls out 5 firearms trafficking strike forces to tackle gun violence

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Washington — The Justice Department on Thursday is launching 5 gun trafficking strike forces to tackle gun violence and curb the provision of firearms being illegally trafficked into key areas nationwide, the newest in a collection of steps taken by the Biden administration to confront a surge in violent crime.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco launched the 5 cross-jurisdictional strike forces throughout a go to to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Later on Thursday, Garland will journey to Chicago, one of many strike drive cities.

The 5 key areas are: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay space and Sacramento Region, and Washington, D.C. Led by U.S. attorneys in every of the areas, the prosecutors will work with ATF and state and native legislation enforcement to establish patterns, leads and potential suspects in violent gun crimes. 

ATF can also be embedding brokers or job drive officers with greater than 45 native murder models to coordinate efforts to curb violent crime, a Justice Department official instructed reporters.

“All too often, guns found at crime scenes come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. We are redoubling our efforts as ATF works with law enforcement to track the movement of illegal firearms used in violent crimes,” Garland stated in a press release. “These strike forces enable sustained coordination across multiple jurisdictions to help disrupt the worst gun trafficking corridors.”

Monaco stated the “fuel” for the efforts to disrupt trafficking networks is info and intelligence shared amongst legislation enforcement companies nationwide.

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“We all know that our job is go to after those that pull the trigger and end up critically injuring and in some cases murdering innocent people,” she stated throughout a gathering at ATF headquarters in Washington, D.C. “But our job is also of course to go after the sources of those guns, the corridors that they travel in and the networks that feed those guns to the places where they are doing the most violent crime.”

The strike forces intend to leverage present assets to disrupt vital trafficking corridors and, finally, the complete community, from the place the weapons originate and flowing to the locations they’re used to commit violent crimes.

The Justice Department official instructed reporters the hassle just isn’t a (*5*) however a sustained coordinated and multi-jurisdictional technique. The new effort prioritizes intelligence-sharing between supply areas and market areas, the place weapons are utilized in crimes, and hyperlinks legislation enforcement and prosecutors from the locations the place violence is happening with officers within the jurisdictions the place the firearms got here from, the official stated.

Gun trafficking just isn’t against the law, however these concerned within the schemes are prosecuted underneath different legal guidelines, corresponding to conspiracy, prohibited possession or making false statements, an ATF official instructed reporters.

The Justice Department and President Biden have rolled out a collection of initiatives with the objective of addressing gun violence and curbing the move of firearms used to commit violent crimes. Last month, Mr. Biden and Garland introduced ATF can be cracking down on federal firearms licensers who violate key rules. The president has additionally inspired cities to use remaining COVID-19 pandemic reduction cash for neighborhood policing funds or teenage job applications.

In April, Mr. Biden directed ATF to suggest a brand new rule to stem the rise of so-called ghost weapons and overview using stabilizing braces used to convert pistols to short-barreled rifles.

The newest transfer from the Justice Department comes as cities nationwide confront a spike in violent crime. A examine from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice analyzing crime charges in 34 cities discovered murder charges had been 30% greater in 2020, whereas aggravated assault elevated 6% and gun assault rose by 8%.

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