Biden's pivot on policing about politics, not public safety

Joe Biden’s high-profile trip to NYC to talk crime with Mayor Eric Adams is more about political messaging than public safety, which may please gun control activists but will do little to address violent crime or the individuals responsible.

Even before Biden departed for New York the White House was unveiling the latest public relations effort to make the president look semi-competent in addressing crime; an issue that consistently drawn low marks from voters in surveys of his job performance. The latest strategy from Biden’s handlers? Talk up the threat of “ghost guns” and the need for more gun control laws to shut down the “iron pipeline” of guns coming from places like South Carolina into states like New York.

The DOJ is launching a National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative ahead of President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland‘s travel to New York City to discuss gun violence and anti-crime efforts.

The department’s latest initiative on ghost guns, which are privately made and difficult to track, will prioritize bringing federal charges against individuals who use those weapons. DOJ plans to train prosecutors on issues specifically related to ghost guns in a bid to better enforce laws against the weapons, which have grown in popularity.

Local law enforcement reported 1,750 suspected ghost guns in 2016, and that number had grown to 8,712 by 2020, according to DOJ statistics.

Eliminating the use of ghost guns has been a priority for DOJ and some lawmakers. The department published a rule last year seeking to curb the prevalence of those weapons.

From a crime victim’s perspective, does it really matter if the gun used by someone to rob, rape, or kill you was legally purchased, stolen from a home, bought in a straw buy, or built in a basement? In fact, why would that matter to cops, courts, or politicians? It’s what the individual is doing with the gun that’s really important, isn’t it? Why would Biden and Merrick Garland be so interested in prosecuting cases involving “ghost guns” and not, say, prosecuting the most violent and prolific offenders instead?

Because going after “ghost guns” allows Biden to tell gun control activists that he’s doing something they want, which he hopes will juice turnout among the Democratic base come November.

It’s not all about gun control for Biden. He’s also hoping to convince the American public that the Democrats aren’t really the party of defunding the police, and confabbing with the former NYPD officer and current mayor of New York allows Biden to try to distance himself from the anti-policing rhetoric being spouted by many on the left, like those calling NYPD officers “fascist” for turning out for the funeral of slain NYPD detective Jason Rivera.

Now, I doubt this strategy is going to pay off, in part because it’s so painfully obvious what the White House is doing. Even CNN didn’t try to downplay the political strategy at work in its coverage of Biden’s sit-down with Adams.

As Democrats grapple with how to tackle a problem that has been used against them by Republicans with some success in past elections — and is shaping up to be a key issue in the midterms this fall — Biden will be elevating his party’s work on combating illegal guns onto the national stage.
In New York, the President is expected to lay out how his administration will build on the comprehensive strategy to combat gun violence he unveiled last summer amid a surge in violent crimes. The trip comes amid a rash of high-profile shootings in major cities, including New York, and less than two weeks after two New York Police Department officers were fatally shot on the job. The trip also takes place as several major American cities combat rising homicides and shootings — 2020 saw the largest year-to-year spike in homicides on record, and some major cities recorded more homicides in 2020 or 2021 than in any other year on record.
Tackling gun violence is seen as a priority for both parties and a possible area where Democrats can build political momentum going into the elections. Biden’s Department of Justice identified gun crime as a major priority upon the start of the President’s term in early 2021, and the White House often points to gun violence as its top concern when it comes to crime in America.

It’s all about the politics of public safety, not the safety of individuals. In fact, if Biden were seriously interested in exploring strategies to reduce violent crime, he wouldn’t be headed to New York. He’d be visiting Dallas, where violent crime, including murders, declined dramatically last year, even after Constitutional Carry took effect in September. The insistence of guys like Biden and Adams that violent crime can’t be addressed without gun control laws doesn’t hold water when you look at how the Dallas PD is successfully reducing shootings, aggravated assaults, robberies, and homicides.

As part of the plan, police have been working to identify violent “hotspots” and have been increasing officer presence in 51 small grids out of 101,402 across the city.

“It took getting a new police chief in here who believed in the importance of actually having a sort of kitchen sink approach to fighting violent crime and knowing that we needed to have a plan to address violent crime and to really get things moving in the right direction,” Johnson told Fox News Digital.

“Our chief is committed to making sure that we actually reduce violence by going where violence is and not pretending like we don’t know where the parts of our city are,” Johnson said. “The crime numbers are being driven by certain what they call micro-grids here in our city — small areas where if we target those areas, we can make a disproportionate impact on the overall crime rate.”

A reduction in violent crime at the same time Second Amendment rights were expanded? No wonder Biden is heading to “may issue” New York City instead of Constitutional Carry Dallas, even if he could learn a lot more about successfully fighting crime in the Big D than the Big Apple.

But then, Biden’s trip isn’t about fighting crime. It’s not about ensuring that the good people in bad neighborhoods can rest easy at night, or let their kids play in the front yard. It’s about trying to stop the bleeding in Joe Biden’s poll numbers, not stopping the bloody gang-and-drug related violence playing out in communities across the country, but I don’t think voters are going to be deceived by the latest bit of political theater emanating from the West Wing.