Mayor Eric Adams joins President Joseph Biden, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, and local, state and federal officials at NYPD headquarters to attend a Gun Violence Strategies Partnership meeting on Thursday. Pool Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office | License Photo
Feb. 3 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden said he doesn't support the idea of defunding police Thursday while in New York City to promote a new suite of federal efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States.
Biden traveled to New York City with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to meet with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on rising gun violence in the city since the start of the pandemic.
Since taking office more than a year ago, Biden has made multiple efforts to stem the flow of illegal guns on U.S. streets and keep firearms away from people who shouldn't have them. Last May, his Justice Department released a national strategy to reduce violent crimes on U.S. streets.
That strategy, though, doesn't include taking funding away from the nation's police departments and putting it into more social programs as many Democrats called for in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020.
"The answer is not to defund the police," Biden said during Thursday's meeting.
His administration's approach, he said, is "to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors and to know the community."
Biden said he's considering an executive order to reform policing in the country.
"When I wrote the first crime bill, I noticed that I don't hear many communities -- no matter what their color, their background -- saying, 'I don't want more protection in my community,'" he said. "I haven't found one of those yet."
The White House said Biden's strategy is to ease violence and crime -- which includes "historic levels of funding for cities and states to put more cops on the beat," investing in "prevention and intervention" programs, and ramping up federal law enforcement efforts against illegal gun traffickers.
He said funding from the American Rescue Plan should be used to hire more law enforcement officers and pay for police overtime.
The new federal measures include giving priority to cases against criminals who put guns into the hands of people who shouldn't have them, such as unlicensed dealers who sell without background checks. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
The new measures include directing every U.S. Attorney's Office to increase funding for violent crime strategies and cracking down on the "Iron Pipeline" -- the illegal flow of guns sold in the South and transported up the East Coast. They also include a National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative to train prosecutors to charge people who use ghost guns to commit crimes, and giving priority to cases against people who help guns get into the hands of people who shouldn't have them, such as unlicensed dealers who sell without background checks.
The casket of NYPD officer Wilbert Mora is carried during his funeral service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Wednesday. Mora and partner Jason Rivera were killed last month while responding to a domestic dispute in Harlem. Pool Photo by Craig Ruttle/UPI
Biden's visit comes after NYPD officers Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera were shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call in Harlem last month. After the shooting, Adams called on federal leaders in Washington, D.C., to "act now to stop the flow of weapons into our cities."
Last month, Adams also introduced a "Blueprint to End Gun Violence," which includes plans to revive a plainclothes anti-gun unit in the NYPD that was disbanded in 2020 and calls for more restrictive bail laws and an option to charge teenagers as adults in some gun cases.
NYPD officers carry Officer Wilbert Mora's casket out of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Wednesday after his funeral service. He and his partner, Officer Jason Rivera, were fatally shot on a domestic violence call at a Harlem apartment. Pool Photo by Craig Ruttle/UPI | License Photo