President Biden's budget proposal for the Department of Justice includes more funding to combat gun violence at a time when Republicans have criticized him as soft on crime. Biden’s proposal includes ,$1.9 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to expand gun trafficking strike forces, $1.9 billion for the U.S. Marshals Service to catch fugitives and other enforcement work, and $51 million for the FBI to continue implementing legislation and enhance background checks for gun buyers. The Justice Department would get $39.7 billion, a $2.2 billion or 5.9% increase from last year, reports USA Today. Lawmakers will spend months deciding which programs actually deserve funding. Congressional Republicans have criticized other gun control measures, including the one Biden aims to fund in his budget.
The additional FBI funding would help implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Biden signed last June. The law – the most significant gun control package to clear Congress in 30 years – was approved weeks after the deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tx. The law enhanced background checks for buyers 18 to 21 years old, encouraged states to develop better “red flag” laws to deny guns to people who are deemed dangerous and added dating partners to the list of domestic abusers prohibited from buying firearms. Biden has also called for a revival of the assault weapons ban, which he sponsored as a senator. The 1994 ban expired in 2004. Some Republicans have opposed those bills and prevented a resumption of the assault weapons ban. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), saidbackground-check legislation would take away due process for law-abiding gun owners rather than stop violent shootings by deranged criminals. Biden plans to travel Tuesday to Monterey Park, Ca., to discuss his efforts to reduce gun violence.