Today I want to talk about the increase in violent crime that is spreading in cities across the country.
In New York City, the murder rate is up 37 percent from two years ago. In Atlanta, it’s up 53 percent from 2019. And in Portland, Oregon, murders have increased by over 500 percent.
What is going on? Well, if you ask President Biden, he will say the usual rhetoric about how we need more gun control. The White House recently put out a so-called strategy to reduce crime. What’s the first thing the President wants to do about this? Go after rogue gun dealers.
Now, gun dealers must follow the law, like doing background checks. We agree on that, but I don’t think anyone truly believes that legal gun dealers are responsible for a sudden spike in violent crime, including the Department of Justice. According to a 2019 DOJ report, inmates who committed a gun crime most likely got their weapons from the black market. Only about 1 in 50 federal inmates got a gun from a legal firearms dealer.
Speaking of which, if Democrats really want to protect Americans from illegal gun sales, they should support my bill, the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, which would do exactly that.
But, getting back to the recent crime wave, the real problem is what everybody knows but many of my friends on the left dare not say. The real problem is that for the past 14 months, police officers across the country have been vilified for doing their jobs, which has led to many of them leaving. In addition, liberal communities have reduced police forces and even prosecutions, such as in San Francisco where shoplifting appears to now be a way of life. Some police have pulled back from making sure we’re all safe, because in too many cities elected officials don’t have their backs.
Last year Attorney General Barr enacted Operation Legend, which paired federal law enforcement officers up with local police in nine cities where crime was soaring. This led to the arrest of 6,000 violent criminals by the end of last year, including hundreds of murderers.
Now, does this White House have the will to support law enforcement so they can make our streets safer? Does the President have their backs? Recently the President’s spokesperson said it was the Republicans who wanted to de-fund the police, not Democrats. That’s just plain untrue and everyone knows it. What they were trying to say is that Republicans didn’t support the Democrats irresponsible spending bill back in March. That’s not de-funding the police. That’s just being responsible. It’s not Republicans who say things like, “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” and “defunding the police means defunding the police.”
Let me give you another example. The push to take resources away from law enforcement is alive and well over in the House. A couple weeks ago, the Senate passed three bills that would support police. The Protecting America’s First Responders Act makes sure seriously injured first responders, or their widows and children, get the benefits they are entitled to. The COPS Counseling Act creates a zone of privacy for police officers so they can have counseling sessions for traumatic experiences. And the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers Protection Act makes it clear that killing a law enforcement officer overseas is a crime in the United States. The Senate passed these bills because, when it comes to law enforcement, we’ve got their backs.
But right now, Democratic leadership in the House is preventing a vote on these bills. Why? I don’t know. They are bipartisan bills that should easily pass with resounding support. If you’re with me on funding the police, I know you’ll support these bills. And if the President wants to reduce crime, he should tell our police, “Go out there and patrol our streets. We’ve got your back.”