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WATCH: Sen. Ossoff Leading Effort to Coordinate Federal, Local Officials to Reduce Violent Crime in Savannah

Savannah gun violence is at a
4-year high

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is leading an effort to coordinate Federal and local efforts to reduce violent crime in the Savannah area. Last week in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Ossoff secured commitments from two of President Biden’s key nominees to lead law enforcement agencies at the Department of Justice that they will travel to Georgia to meet with Senator Ossoff, Mayor Van Johnson, and local law enforcement agencies, including the Savannah Police Department and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, to address the area’s recent surge in violent crime.

Sen. Ossoff secured the commitments to focus on reducing violence in Georgia from Anne Milgram, nominated by President Biden to serve as Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and David Chipman, nominated by President Biden to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

According to local reports, Savannah is experiencing homicides and shootings at levels not seen since 2016.

Sen. Ossoff has remained focused on reducing violence in Georgia and nationwide. In March, Sen. Ossoff pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray to more thoroughly analyze the drivers of increased violence. Sen. Ossoff also secured a commitment from Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to increase focus on efforts to reduce violence and work to address the root causes of increased violent crime.

Please find a video of the exchange here:

Please find a transcript of the exchange below:

SEN. OSSOFF: “I thank the panel. Thank you for your willingness to serve. Thank you for putting yourself through this process. I’d like to begin with you, Mr. Chipman. Much of the, in fact, the majority of homicides involving firearms involve handguns. Is that correct?”

CHIPMAN: “That’s correct. And thank you for the question, Senator.”

SEN. OSSOFF: “What steps do you intend to take, should you be confirmed, to stop the proliferation of illegal handguns and reduce the level of gun violence involving handguns on American streets?”

CHIPMAN: “Thank you, Senator. The top priority of ATF will be a focus on firearms trafficking. By focusing on the illegal transfer of guns from lawful commerce into illegal commerce, the selling and illegal dealing of guns to criminals, is the best way to prevent crime with guns. The ultimate responsibility of ATF is to do what is within our powers to prevent those offenders from ever getting a handgun if they can’t lawfully possess it in the first place.”

(02:50): SEN. OSSOFF: “The city of Savannah is experiencing an outbreak of homicides and shootings that levels not seen in three or four years. Last fall in Savannah, violence escalated from, on average, a shooting every three days to one every other day. Will you similarly please commit to joining me to meet with Savannah’s political leadership, Mayor Van Johnson, the Savannah Police Department, and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office to discuss how to reduce violent crime in and around Savannah, Georgia?”

MILGRAM: “Senator, I would commit to you that I believe that violence is — it is critically important that we address it. And I, if I’m confirmed, I’m happy to assist you in any way with any meetings or otherwise and any other members of this committee in any way that I can.”

SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you. Mr. Chipman?”

CHIPMAN: “Senator, thank you very much for the opportunity to, again, go to your state and meet with local law enforcement which is ATF’s role to support in their efforts to prevent violent crime.”

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