NEW YORK (CBS New York) – President Joe Biden met with city officials on Thursday and announced federal assistance to stop the flow of guns into the state.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, he also wants to impose tougher penalties on people who buy and sell illegal guns.
“Enough is enough. Enough is enough,” Biden said.
LOOK: President Biden, Mayor Adams and other leaders address gun violence
The President expressed the frustration of New Yorkers, Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul and the families of slain NYPD Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora as he announced new funds, new programs and a new resolve to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. guns in the state, guns that kill cops and civilians.
“Mayor Adams, you and I agree that the answer is not to abandon our streets. That’s not the answer. The answer is not to defund the police. This is for you give the tools, the training, the funding,” Biden said.
READ MORE: Mayor Eric Adams Addresses NYC Shootings, Brings Back Reform Crime Unit
To that end, the White House announced new public safety initiatives, including:
- More Resources for US Attorneys’ Offices to Address Violent Crimes at the Local Level
- A nationwide program to train prosecutors to fight “ghost guns,” weapons assembled from kits available on the Internet that aren’t regulated by federal gun laws
“We are sparing no resources in identifying and holding accountable repeat offenders who are the primary drivers of violent crime,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
READ MORE: NYC Gun Violence: Retired Detective & Professor John Jay Weighs In On Mayor Adams’ ‘Master Plan’
The president arrived in New York at the invitation of Mayor Adams, who urged the federal government to establish the type of joint federal, state and local task force used to fight terrorism after 9/11. He wants federal authorities to crack down on what he calls “domestic terrorism.”
“The president is here because he knows what the American people want – justice, security and prosperity,” Adams said.
But with the upcoming midterm elections, the president has faced a careful balancing act as he tries to show Republicans he’s going after the bad guys while supporting the need for police reforms demanded by the liberal wing of his party.
READ MORE: In wake of ongoing gun violence, Mayor Eric Adams pledges to keep New York schools safe: ‘I will protect my children’
New York Republicans gave him no respite, pointing out that just two years ago Biden would never have come to police headquarters to meet with a pro-police mayor.
“It wouldn’t have happened in 2020 because in 2020 and 2021 the Democratic Party was the party of defunding the police. They were the party of the anti-police riots. They were the party of reclaiming the powers of our criminal justice system said City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli.
The Republican National Committee chairwoman upped the ante, calling on the president to speak out against the policies of liberal prosecutors like Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Watch Marcia Kramer’s report —
New Yorkers are mixed about whether it will make a difference that the president has come to New York.
” He does not care. It’s to save face, to look good. That’s all it is,” Veronica Darden said.
“It’s going to have a real impact because I know the mayor and I know the president, so hopefully they can come to a good deal,” said Harlem resident Adam Wainwright.
READ MORE: NYPD Det. Jason Rivera’s widow criticizes Manhattan DA policy changes during eulogy
Critics say the strategies cannot be aimed strictly at targeting firearms.
“If we continue to blame this violence simply on gun violence and not on the cultural problem that it is, and not on the real problem which is the criminals, who are the criminals who commit the violent crimes, we will never go nowhere,” said retired NYPD detective Angel Maysonet.
CBS2’s Dick Brennan asked the mayor if he could achieve his crime-fighting goals when even members of his own party disagreed on various issues, including bail reform.
“I’m going to go to Albany, sit down with – a lot of them are friends, we just don’t agree. And because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we can find a ground. ‘agreed to change, not take away what was in place because my life’s work is to fight for reform,’ Adams said.
Meanwhile, the NYPD recorded an increase of nearly 39% in the overall Crime Index last month compared to January 2021. All major crime categories saw an increase except for murder, which fell 15%. Shootings have increased by almost 32%.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer contributed to this report. Editor’s note: This story was first published on February 3.