WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRPROUD) — With a rise in gun violence across the country, President Joe Biden announced how the administration plans to crack down on violence and work towards prevention. The Baton Rouge Police Chief was invited to meet with the President on how the issue of gun violence has risen in the city.
By June of 2020, East Baton Rouge Parish had 56 recorded homicides, now in 2021 it is already up to 80 according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office. This has been a trend seen around the country and the Biden Administration announced new investments in supporting law enforcement, cracking down on firearm dealers, and other methods to help address the issue.
As normal life returns from the pandemic, gun violence is surging in cities across the country. The Biden Administration wants to use funding from the American Rescue Plan to help prevent gun violence and stop the trafficking of firearms.
“Police Chief Murphy Paul of Baton Rouge, Louisiana talked about how he is coordinating more closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help take on criminal organizations committing violent crimes in the city,” President Biden said.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy J. Paul Jr. met with the President alongside mayors and attorneys from other cities to talk about the plan to reduce gun violence. On the reduction side the plan outlines a zero tolerance for gun dealers violating the law and stopping the trafficking of guns over state lines.
“Mayors have the power to shape and enforce the laws in their cities but they can’t control the laws in neighboring cities and states even though the gun is legally bought there often ends up in their streets,” President Biden said.
On the prevention side the ARP funding can be used to hire police officers to pre-pandemic levels as well as overtime costs. Funding will also go into youth employment and programs to help formerly incarcerated people reenter society.
With the first quarter of 2021 showing a 24% increase in homicides across the country the administration believes that something needs to be done now to slow the trend.
“90% of illegal guns that were found at crime scenes were sold by 5% of gun dealers,” President Biden said. “These merchants of death are breaking the law for profit, they’re selling guns that are killing innocent people. It’s wrong, it’s unacceptable and as the Attorney General said we are going to crack down on those gun dealers.”
Baton Rouge is one of the communities recognized by the administration for using some of the ARP funding for community violence intervention. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is in support in the extra efforts to curb violence in the city.
“Today, the Biden Administration is announcing a series of initiatives to address the ongoing gun violence in our country, and I am proud to have Chief Murphy Paul represent not only our community in Baton Rouge, but police chiefs across the nation. We know that violence is a complex issue, and it will take leadership at all levels to help us alleviate this within our community.
President Biden announced that his administration will invest in evidence-based community violence intervention programs across the country; my administration is proud to be one of the 15 jurisdictions chosen to partner in this effort.
The support of the White House will undoubtedly bolster our community violence interrupters, allowing them to reach more residents and creating a magnified impact on our community. We know that crime is not random, and these resources will empower both our Safe, Hopeful, Healthy BR team and our police department to disrupt known crime concentrations,” said Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome in a statement.
Over the next year, leaders will be trained on the best ways to cut down on gun violence through different agencies and law enforcement.