On Guns and Crime, One Cheer for Biden

The president is evasive on the causes of the crime spike but tacitly bows to reality

President Biden speaks as Attorney General Merrick Garland looks on / Getty Images

For all the talk about Joe Biden's cognitive decline, he appears to have kept in mind that a new era of liberalism will not begin in a time of mass violence and urban decay.

The president's initiative to curb the decades-high spike in homicides and shootings, announced on Wednesday, gets at least some of the facts right. A White House memo on the crisis reveals that "homicides rose 30 percent, and gun assaults rose 8 percent in large cities in 2020," and the president said things are slated to get worse.

They say the world looks different from behind the Resolute desk. Maybe that's why Biden, whose plan to address the violence will encourage states to use stimulus funds to shore up police departments across the country, now acknowledges that more police means less crime.

The White House's other proposed solutions, like a crackdown on gun dealers who don't run background checks, reek of political opportunism and provide a window into the contortions Democrats like Biden will put themselves through to placate the police abolitionists in his party.

Before Biden was warning Americans of a summer crime surge, his campaign was raising money to bail out the looters and criminals who razed Minneapolis last summer. Biden senior adviser Eric Garcetti oversaw the slashing of the Los Angeles police budget in a show of solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

That's why Biden's proposed solution tacitly acknowledges the effectiveness of policing while simultaneously shifting the blame away from the "defund the police" activists his campaign indulged and onto legal gun owners.

There's nothing new in Biden's directive to the Justice Department to target "willful violations of the law by federally licensed firearm dealers." And the president's obsession with tracing new gun purchases will do little to protect seven-year-old girls like Reagan Grimes, who while riding a scooter last month was shot in the chest by an unknown assailant just 20 minutes away from the White House. A tiny percentage of violent crime is committed by criminals who buy guns from dealers.

The crime spike presents a serious problem—beyond the millions of Americans who have to face this violence on a daily basis—for a Democratic Party that has marketed itself as a home for thugs, criminals, activists, and lawmakers who want to kneecap law enforcement.

Former police officer Eric Adams's victory in the New York City mayoral primary shows how even left-wing voters will respond, at least as long as Democrats like Biden continue to obfuscate about the causes of urban crime and respond with feckless solutions.