Biden Vows a Crackdown on Illegal Gun Dealers, Labeling them ‘Merchants of Death’

President Joe Biden delivers remarks after a roundtable discussion with advisors on steps to curtail gun violence at the White House, June 23, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland discussed a plan to curb gun violence at a White House press conference on Wednesday evening, amid rising homicide rates throughout the U.S.

Biden said he will direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to revoke licenses from dealers the first time they are caught selling a weapon to someone without a permit. Dealers would also have their licenses revoked if they refuse a federal request for trace information about a gun used in a crime, or refuse to run a background check.

“If you willfully sell a gun to someone who is prohibited from possessing it, if you willfully failed to run a background check, if you willfully falsify a record, if you willfully failed to cooperate with the tracing request or inspections, my message is this: We will find you and we will seek your license to sell guns,” Biden told reporters. “We’ll make sure you can’t sell death and mayhem on our streets.”

The president said 90 percent of illegal guns found at crime scenes were sold by 5 percent of gun dealers, citing a 20-year-old study from what he said was the last time data were available.

“These merchants of death are breaking the law for profit,” Biden said. “As the attorney general said, we’re going to crack down on those gun dealers and the violent criminals they knowingly arm.”

Biden also called to open employment opportunities in the government agencies and in private businesses to former prisoners, in a bid to reduce recidivism among former convicts. Administration officials said the president would redirect $350 million in federal stimulus funds toward police departments contending with a rise in crime, according to the Washington Post.

Biden added that there has “always been a limit” on the type of weapons citizens are allowed to own.

“Those who say the blood of patriots, you know, and all the stuff about how we’re gonna have to move against the government — well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots,” Biden said. “If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”

Biden made similar comments during the 2020 presidential campaign.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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