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.

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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 U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, New York City Democratic candidate for mayor, Eric Adams, a leader on community interventions, and several major city mayors and police chiefs to discuss his gun crime prevention strategy, unveiled last month .

The meeting takes place amid an epidemic of gun violence in several of the country’s largest cities, an issue Republicans want to use as a central theme in their efforts to take over the House and 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 by the administration on Monday provided examples of how cities are using the funds, such as Washington’s proposal to use $ 59 million to provide police cadet slots, community services, and financial aid to citizens who work Gun violence would help them return to the community.

“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 changes 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 arms trade corridors between major cities.

– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.