"Staggering": Biden breaks from agenda to grapple with bloodshed plaguing big cities

“It is staggering. It is sobering,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco acknowledged Tuesday in a town hall with police chiefs. “It is something that DOJ is committed to do all we can to reverse what are profoundly troubling trends and a really bad trajectory that we’re on.”

For weeks, the White House has been in touch with major cities to gauge the severity of the issue. That has included a discussion in May between domestic policy adviser Susan Rice and Lightfoot, in which the mayor laid out ways the federal government could help. On June 15, Lightfoot was among more than two dozen mayors who signed a letter asking the White House to take further action, ranging from investigating federally-licensed gun dealers and cracking down on illegal gun sales over social media platforms.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced five strike forces that will target the flow of illegal firearms into places like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. While Chicago, for example, has its own gun control measures in place, it has historically contended with the illegal trafficking of weapons from nearby Indiana, as well as southern states.