During Wednesday's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was questioned by reporters on the rise in gun violence in cities across the country, as well as the proposed response of the Crime Prevention rollout from the Biden administration.
"How do you reduce gun violence by expanding employment opportunities including summer jobs for young people?" asked Fox News' Peter Doocy.
"Well first there’s several components of this proposal. One of them is an initial set of actions on gun violence," said Psaki, clarifying that it's an additional set of actions.
"The president feels are important to get guns off the street, make sure they are not in the hands of people illegally, many of whom are playing a role in violent crime across the country. That's part of his objective," she continued.
Psaki added that "summer jobs" as Doocy put it, were part of a plan to offer young people in these cities an alternative to turning to violence.
"He also wants to provide, as we've seen has been effective in communities across the country, incentives and alternatives for young people in communities where that has shown to be an effective step," said Psaki.
Doocy in turn questioned why criminals would stop their crimes if provided a summer job. "So is the thought there, basically, that some criminal who has been committing crimes with limited interruption or interference from police for the past few weeks or months is going to stop because they have a summer job?"
"Well I think the president believes that we shouldn't allow access to guns to those criminals who are currently illegally buying them from some dealers across the country and part of his announcement is taking steps to do exactly that," Psaki said.
"But part of his announcement is also ensuring there’s specific guidance to communities across the country to ensure they have funding to get more community police around the country, something that was supported by the American Jobs Plan that was voted into law by Democrats just a couple of months ago," Psaki said.
"Some might say that the other party was for defunding the police, I’ll let others say that, but, that's a piece," said Psaki, insinuating that the Republicans that voted against the massive spending bill were for defunding the police.
Philip Wegmann, of Real Clear Politics, asked Psaki about politics role in the Biden administration's decision to act.
"Public safety can be a potent political issue, to what degree, if any, has the politics played a role" in "trying to get out in front of things," he asked.
"The president has been very consistent in his views over the course of decades," said Psaki.
"He has never been for defunding the police, he has always been a supporter of ensuring that local community policing is funded and adequately supported by the federal government. He's also been a longtime advocate for decades and leader on addressing gun violence," she continued."
"So this is actually a continuity of his leadership on these issues over the course of decades," Psaki said. "Now he has taken steps as president on each of these issues as well, including supporting funding, proposing funding in his own budget for community policing, and this is just an opportunity to put additional meat on the bones."
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a comprehensive strategy to combat gun violence and other violent crime.
"This strategy will use the Rescue Plan’s historic funding levels and clear guidance to help state, local, territorial, and tribal governments get the money they need to put more police officers on the beat," offering officers more resources, training, and accountability, as well as supporting "Community Violence Intervention programs, summer employment opportunities, and other investments that we know will reduce crime and make our neighborhoods safer."
"The strategy will also address the direct link between gun violence and the rise in violent crime by taking immediate steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including by strengthening ATF's efforts to stem the flow of firearms used in crimes, and by launching multi-jurisdictional firearms trafficking strike forces to stop illegal gun trafficking across state lines," the announcement continues.
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