By Larry Keane
Remember that American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden that sent $1,400 checks to support those economically affected by the COVD-19 crisis? That was the plan pushed by The White House to provide direct relief to Americans, help contain the spread of COVID-19 and rescue the economy.
Turns out, it is also being used to advance local gun control initiatives.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group bankrolled by antigun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is even hosting webinars to teach officials how to tap into the $130 billion to advance gun control initiatives. Everytown and Giffords gun control justify using the taxpayer-funded relief money for their goals by claiming the rise in criminal violence is caused by COVID-19 and that “violence intervention professionals” are on the pandemic’s front lines.
This absurd argument ignores the fact that crime spiked after civil unrest and rioting broke out across the country in urban centers and cities slashed police departments following calls to defund the police. Those calls were supported and echoed by the gun control groups. Violence intervention professionals used to be the police, but once law enforcement was withdrawn, criminals got bolder.
Now, these same gun control groups would use federal emergency funds to entrench gun control agendas instead of safeguarding communities from violence, pandemic infection and supporting businesses that were forced to be closed and Americans who lost their jobs. These groups didn’t pull the idea from thin air either. The Biden administration is openly advocating using the funds to push a gun control agenda. The Treasury Department issued a press release urging that the funds be used for Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programs.
The Treasury Department also indicates the funds can be applied to bolstering law enforcement efforts, including those stopping illegal gun trafficking, however, neither Everytown nor Giffords makes mention of using the funds to put more police on the streets.
SEE ALSO: Former Employee Issues Most Damning Critique of Everytown: ‘It’s like being in an abusive relationship’
That’s on top of The White House’s 2022 discretionary budget plan that includes $2.1 billion for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to treat crime as a public health crisis and President Joe Biden’s also proposed $5 billion for community gun violence prevention in the American Jobs Plan published earlier this year.
The idea that COVID infections are a causal factor in crime is illogical. Crime isn’t a disease. It is criminal behavior. NSSF has pointed out that firearm sales reached record levels and continue to sell at near-record rates because of concerns of rising crime. The FBI released its Uniform Crime Report that showed murders rose 29 percent nationwide. The Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan think tank, cites changing police activity in response to COVID-19 infections and community leaders breaching trust with police departments as two of the reasons crime is up, including murder.
The American Rescue Plan is pitched by The White House as a direct relief to Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s looking more like a cash infusion on the taxpayer’s dime to push a gun control agenda.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.