Federal

Dallas Police Chief Pushes Back on ‘Defunding and Dismantling Police,’ Gun Control Logic

Last week, the White House published a plan to combat the “epidemic of gun violence in this country” by taking steps to “crack down on rogue gun dealers” and improve cooperation between state and local authorities, among a number of other ideas. However, at least one big-city police chief is pushing back on the Biden administration’s focus on guns.

In a television interview, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia refuted some of the reasoning for expanding gun control and attributed part of the rising crime rate to the movement to defund and dismantle police departments across the country.

Jeanine Pirro asked Garcia whether the administration is taking the best approach to decreasing violence with guns. The police chief told Pirro that he appreciated the fact that many people recognize “defunding and dismantling police departments is not the answer” to an uptick in violent crime.

“However, although we do have an issue with weapons and illegally possessed weapons being possessed by criminals committing harm on our cities, the data just simply doesn’t back up the fact that guns are [simply the] only driver,” Garcia explained.

“We do a lot of work with criminologists here in the city of Dallas that we’ve brought in to help us with our issues, and as they’ll point out, when crime was at its peak in the ‘80s there were many less weapons in circulation than there are today.”

When Pirro pressed Garcia on what factors are playing into violent crime, Garcia indicated it is a “combination of things.”

“Nationally, particularly because of [the] dismantling [and] defunding combination, you have officer morale — where honorable, respectable officers have felt under siege, unappreciated, undervalued — they’re human, and that impacts their work productivity. What’s happened is we’ve lost proactive police engagement where we need it the most,” Garcia said.

Garcia emphasized that officers are more likely to go the extra mile if they “feel that they’re going to be judged fairly in a crisis and they feel that procedural justice applies to them as well.”

Supporters of defunding the police contend, among other arguments, that police officers are given too many responsibilities, some of which would be better handled by mental health professionals.

President Biden is not exclusively focusing his efforts on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. In response to questions from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Biden’s nominee to be the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman, stated that he supports an AR-15 ban.

“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” Chipman said.

“The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team, and it’s a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons, I have advocated for. As ATF director, if I’m confirmed, I would simply enforce the laws on the books, and right now there is no such ban on those guns.”

Last week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee failed to report Chipman’s nomination favorably in a party-line vote of 10 to 10. The full U.S. Senate will now have the opportunity to confirm or reject his nomination.

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