Justice Dept. launches gun trafficking strike forces in 5 cities in hopes of cracking down on crime

Merrick Garland
Posted at 10:49 AM, Jul 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is launching gun trafficking strike forces in five cities in the U.S., part of an effort to reduce spiking violent crime by addressing illegal trafficking and prosecuting offenses that help put guns in the hands of criminals.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is launching the strike forces on Thursday in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

The effort will include increased enforcement in so-called supply areas — cities and states where it is normally easier to obtain firearms that are later trafficked into cities with more restrictive gun laws.

According to the Associated Press, the task forces will also "embrace intelligence sharing and prosecutions."

The actions come as the federal government has embedded federal agents in homicide units across the country and has stepped up efforts to arrest people who are wanted on federal warrants for violent crimes.

The creation of the task forces comes as homicides and shootings have been on the rise in cities across the country for the past two years. The Biden administration has largely fought the increase in crime by attempting to crack down on illegal gun use.

Earlier this year, Biden signed an executive order that attempted to crack down on "ghost guns," which lack proper serial numbers. The order also ordered the Justice Department to take steps toward banning devices like stabilizing braces, which can turn a pistol into a makeshift short-barreled rifle.