United States President Joe Biden, center, speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, the United States, on Monday, July 12, 2021.

Sarah Silberner | UPI | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden met with U.S. police chiefs and elected officials at the White House on Monday to discuss his plan to combat a sustained nationwide surge in gun violence.

“We recognize that we must come together for the first responsibility of democracy: to protect one another,” said Biden before the meeting. “And that’s what the American people are looking for when it comes to reducing violent crime and gun violence.”

Biden was accompanied to the White House by US Attorney General Merrick Garland, New York City Democratic candidate for mayoral, Eric Adams, head of community intervention, and several mayors and police chiefs from large and medium-sized US cities to develop his gun crime prevention strategy to discuss. which was unveiled last month.

The meeting takes place amid an epidemic of gun violence in several of the country’s largest cities, a growing political issue for Democrats and the central theme of Republican efforts to take over the House of Representatives and the Senate next year.

The Biden administration faces a major hurdle to reconcile the fight against gun violence with continued pressure on police reform in the US following the assassination of George Floyd last year, especially as the president tried to break away from Defund to remove the Police “of the Democrats. Messaging.

During the meeting, Biden encouraged communities to use $ 350 billion from the American Rescue Plan, a $ 1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan passed by Congress in March, to help improve public safety. This includes strengthening law enforcement and developing community services that prevent crime.

A memo sent out by the administration on Monday provided examples of how cities are using the funds.

New York City, for example, suggested using more than $ 44 million to expand community violence intervention models and reinstall an additional 200 police services to perform on-site administrative tasks.

Other cities listed in the memo include Washington, which proposed using $ 59 million to provide seats for police cadets, community services, and financial aid that would help citizens involved in gun violence, again return to the church.

“The American bailouts, which go directly to local governments like ours, allow us not only to have the officials we need, but also the local violence interrupters we need to fund pilot programs that help returning citizens … that Ecosystem to make cities safer, “Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said in an interview with MSNBC.

The American rescue plan, however, is only part of Biden’s overall strategy to curb violent crime.

The strategy also strengthens federal gun law enforcement by introducing a new “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers who violate federal gun sales laws, and delegates new powers to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to revoke dealer licenses revoke at first violations.

Other federal efforts the strategy brought with it included the establishment of five new federal strike forces, led by the ATF, to monitor and intercept arms smuggling along several major corridors for the arms trade between major cities.

Federal statistics show a significant increase in homicides nationwide, with an increase of 30% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Across the country, mayors and police chiefs are struggling to explain what is behind the rise in mass shootings, murders and other violent crimes.

Experts point to a perfect storm of factors that collided during the pandemic. These include a surge in private arms sales, widespread unemployment, and Covid jobs that stay at home, leaving people trapped and with little to do.

At the same time, protests against police killing of blacks may have diverted police resources from traditional policing and undermined public confidence in the prosecution.

However, many of the factors believed to have contributed to the rise in violent crime are difficult to quantify.

And since policing is typically highly localized in America, Biden’s options at the federal level are limited.

– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.