Garland vows crackdown on gun trafficking as violence surges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed Thursday that the Justice Department would crack down on gun trafficking corridors as part of a comprehensive approach to combat surging gun violence that also includes funding community intervention programs and other neighborhood groups.

Garland returned to his hometown of Chicago, where shootings have soared this year, as the Justice Department launched strike forces to confront the rise in gun violence in five U.S. cities -- Chicago, New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Before he left Washington, Garland met with agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and said he hoped the Senate would confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the agency to help front the federal effort against gun violence. The nomination of David Chipman has been stalled as Republicans and the National Rifle Association work to sink it. Chipman is a two-decade veteran of the ATF who served as an adviser to a major gun control group and would be the first formal leader since 2015.