Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) slammed the Justice Department’s misguided proposal for fighting the spike in violent crime across the country as “ineffective, partisan gun control” that will have “little to no effect on violent crime.”
“Despite this continued rise in violent crime, the DOJ has decided to follow the President in focusing its time and taxpayer resources on policies that will not work, including addressing the so-called ‘Iron Pipeline,’ ghost guns, and lawful firearms dealers,” Grassley wrote.
In his letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the senator notes the marginal impact of each of the DOJ’s three proposals on violent crime, despite the potential consequences for and intimidation of “law-abiding businesses and citizens.”
Grassley starts his letter by dismantling the false impression that increased crime in certain “Democrat-controlled cities” is somehow the fault of other states. Using data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), he demonstrates that this focus on the so-called “Iron Pipeline” is merely a “political effort to falsely suggest that conservative states with robust legal access to firearms somehow cause crime” elsewhere.
The senator further uses ATF data alongside information from the FBI to show that “ghost guns” were used in less than 0.36% of homicides between 2016 and 2020. He additionally establishes that, according to DOJ’s own statistics, only 7 percent of firearms used in a crime are acquired from legal firearms dealers—whereas a majority of those used in a crime are stolen or purchased in the black market.
In a series of questions, Grassley seeks confirmation of the statistics he cites from DOJ and its component agencies. Specifically, he seeks verification of the department’s figures regarding the marginal use of either “ghost guns” or guns acquired through legal dealers in murders. Finally, Grassley presses the department on the relationship between de-policing efforts and progressive prosecution policies and violent crime rates in the cities identified by the department.