Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is making the most out of the recent media attention on surging violent crime in New York City to push for greater federal gun control pointed at ordinary law-abiding Americans around the country.
Schumer called on Congress on Sunday to allocate an additional $1.5 billion to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) so that it can expand gun control activities everywhere in the US.
He specifically identified the federal Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns as his intended recipient of the additional federal funding. The task force has been labeled a potential tool for getting illegal guns off city streets in places like New York. Schumer said the “ABCs” of fighting gun violence relies on three other letters, “A, T, and F.”
Schumer said that he wants to see the additional $1.5 billion be allocated so that the ATF can help with the task force’s work in New York and so that it can “do much more at the national level.” He added that the task force would not have a “full impact” as needed to address gun crime in communities everywhere without the additional taxpayer funding.
The call for new federal gun control funding follows the shooting deaths of NYPD officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora on January 21. The alleged shooter was free on probation following a felony narcotics conviction in New York City. New York state already bans convicted felons from owning or possessing firearms.
Whether Schumer’s use of the tragic police deaths and other shooting crimes occurring in New York due to lax prosecutions and liberal bail and probation policies to press forward with enhanced federal gun control remains to be seen, the scenario presents an opportunity for Republican lawmakers to push back on the Democratic tactic of using the general support of individual police officers to bootstrap the growth of the federal law enforcement bureaucracy.