The Biden administration launched a new plan to tackle gun violence on Wednesday. The White House is looking to crack down on illegal firearm distribution, expand employment opportunities and help formerly incarcerated people adjust to life after prison. The surge in recent gun violence in the Twin Cities has claimed the lives of several children, leaving community members grieving and demanding change.
Tiffany Bui reports:
The country has watched homicide rates soar in large cities throughout the country – and experts say the prevalence of guns is partly to blame.
The Biden administration launched a new plan to tackle gun violence on Wednesday. The White House is looking to crack down on illegal firearm distribution, expand employment opportunities and help formerly incarcerated people adjust to life after prison.
“Crime historically rises during the summer,” said President Biden. “With the country opening back up again, the traditional summers’ spike may be more pronounced than it usually would be.”
The plan also allows local governments’ dollars from the COVID-19 stimulus package to fund gun violence prevention. Politicians could use the money to invest in youth summer programs or hire more law enforcement.
Rashmi Seneviratne, the executive director of the gun violence prevention nonprofit Protect Minnesota, says the plan does a good job of acknowledging some of the underlying causes. But she emphasizes gun violence isn’t just about crime.
“We had about 483 gun deaths in 2020. About 68% of those were white male suicides in rural Minnesota,” explained Seneviratne. “So this idea that it’s based in Minneapolis or St. Paul is actually a huge misconception.”
Still, Biden has an eye on the Twin Cities in his plan. He’s allocating funds for community violence intervention programs in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which use “trusted messengers” to work with people most likely to commit gun violence.
James Farnsworth with Students Demand Action MN says community members should determine how the programs are shaped.
“My biggest priority is making sure that there’s thorough community engagement, to have everyone from across the city have a voice in how this money is being used,” said Farnsworth.
The surge in recent gun violence in the Twin Cities has claimed the lives of several children, leaving community members grieving and demanding change.
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