Biden speaks with local leaders about reducing gun crime

At the White House on Monday, President Biden delivered remarks before meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland and local law enforcement and community leaders about how to prevent gun violence.

Video transcript

JOE BIDEN: But the purpose of the meeting today is we've convened a group of law enforcement and other community leaders, including mayors of the-- of our cities, one, to thank them for their service, because we owe them big-time, second, to hear directly from each of them about reducing violent crime, and particularly gun violence in their communities. Last month, I met with a similar group to unveil my comprehensive strategy to do just that. And it's been-- it's been-- you know, I guess, I look at the attorney general, we've been at this a long-- at this a long time. A long time. Seems like most of my career, I've been dealing with this issue.

While there's no one-size-fit-all approach, we know there are some things that work. And the first of those that work is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes. And we've talked-- you and I have talked about this, Merrick, before. And it includes cracking down and holding rogue gun dealers accountable for violating the federal law. It includes the Justice Department creating five new strike forces to crack down on illegal gun trafficking in the corridor supplying weapons of-- to cities of New York, from New York to the Bay Area.

Secondly is supporting local law enforcement with the federal support they need. Our strategy provides including funding for law enforcement through the American Rescue Plan for states, cities, and to be able to hire police and pay them overtime in order to advance community policing. Third, our plan [INAUDIBLE] community violence and intervention. We-- what we want to do is, when we-- we know, when we utilize trusted community members and encourage more community policing, we can intervene before the violence erupts. At least, that's the consensus in our experience. And community violence intervention programs have shown to reduce crime in some cities by up to 60%.

Fourthly, our strategy to fund other vital services, like mental health and substance abuse disorder programs, job training and summer job programs. And this is going to help prevent crime and support young people to pick up a paycheck instead of a pistol. And fifth, our strategy helps formerly incarcerated people successfully re-enter society with housing, jobs, and training and other support that, up to now, has been denied them. Somebody gets a-- gets out of jail right now after serving their time, they get a bus ticket and 25 bucks, and they up under the same bridge they left. And we know this will help. This will make us all safer. And the American Rescue Plan funds programs to help get job training and apprenticeships and work experience so they can gain stability and security and a chance for a better life.

There's a lot more to my strategy, but at-- that's at the core. It's about coordinating at a federal, state, and local level. And that's what ultimately we're going to talk about today. We recognize that we have to come together to fulfill the first responsibility of democracy, to keep each other safe. And that's what the American people are looking for when it comes to reducing violent crime and gun violence. And I think this truth is illustrative of-- of what we need to get put together. And I want to thank them for being here, and I'm going to look forward to hearing from them, because I'm going to be asking them what they think we should be doing at a federal level.