Biden Announces Gun Violence White House Office on Gun Violence Prevention to help reduce the nation’s gun violence epidemic.
Speaking in the Rose Garden, the president said he acted “to send a clear message about how important this issue is to me and to the country.”
“After every mass shooting, we hear a simple message — the same message across the country. I’ve been to every mass shooting and said, ‘Do something, please do something,'” Biden said.
“Take action to prevent tragedies that leave survivors with physical and emotional scars; families that will never be the same; communities that will be overwhelmed by grief and trauma. Do something! Do something,” the president continued. While the announcement contained no new policy initiatives, Biden said the new White House office would “focus, accelerate and strengthen” the administration’s efforts to combat gun violence.
He believes now is the time to accelerate our efforts to reduce gun violence, and that’s why he created this office,” Stephanie Feldman, who will serve as director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, told reporters. Since taking office, the Biden administration has tried to crack down on guns through executive action, most notably the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which strengthens background checks for gun buyers under 21 and increases funding for so-called “red guns.” flag” laws and other acts.
“There’s a big difference between doing the bare minimum and doing everything necessary to ensure that the executive actions announced by the president and the bipartisan Safer Communities Act are implemented to the fullest extent possible, and the president wants to make sure we have really great people,” said a senior administration official. But the administration failed to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, a campaign promise from Biden’s 2020 campaign. In the run-up to the 2024 election, Biden repeatedly called on Congress to act and urged voters to act if they don’t. “If members of Congress refuse to act, we need to elect new members of Congress who will take action, whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Listen, folks, there will come a time when our voices will be so loud and the decision will be so great.” It is clear that our efforts cannot stop any longer. We have reached this point. “I think we’ve reached a point today where the safety of our children from gun violence depends on votes,” the president said Friday. Vice President Kamal Harris will oversee the office and speak at the announcement.
“Through this new office, we will use the full power of the federal government to strengthen coalitions of survivors and advocates, students, teachers and elected leaders to save lives and fight for the right of all people to be free from fear and safe.” They are able to live their lives knowing that their wishes and rights are supported,” said Harris. The audience for the event included members of Congress, state and local officials, survivors and family members, and gun violence prevention advocates. “Our loss can be different circumstances, but I know it’s really hard to be a part of things like this. You want to drive change here, but it brings back all the memories like it happened a day ago,” Biden said. to the audience and told. his own experience of loss. Rep. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), the first member of Generation Z and the youngest member of Congress, introduced the president by saying his reason for getting into politics was “very simple: I don’t want to get bullied at school.” Shooting”.
Feldman has done a lot of work on gun violence issues in the past, and most importantly, sources say, he has the president’s ear. The Washington Post first reported that Greg Jackson, a gun violence survivor who heads the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox of Everytown Gun Safety are slated to serve in the newly created office. plays a “major role” in more than 500 mass shootings so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is defined as four or more people being shot and killed at the same time. Activist groups, including March for Our Lives and the Newtown Action Coalition, have pushed for a gun violence prevention office for years and said in a 2021 open letter to Biden that creating the office would “simplify the work of government.” work to reduce violence.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy and Frost also introduced legislation last year to create such an office and the White House Liaison Office. Murphy said in a statement Wednesday that the move will save thousands of lives.
Congressman Frost and I introduced legislation earlier this year to create this office, and while we will continue to work to codify the need for this office, the President’s decision to create this office without legislation is a step forward. A big step forward,” Murphy said. A source ABC News spoke with called the creation of the office a major victory for the gun violence movement.
With Republicans retaking the House of Representatives, Congress’s ability to act on gun safety has shrunk. Biden has worked cross-party to pass gun safety reforms in the wake of the 2022 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, but gun safety advocates continue to support additional measures such as assault weapons bans as well as magazine capacity limits. universal background checks and safe storage laws.
Giffords CEO Peter Ambler told ABC News in a statement: “This has been a top priority for us for many years, and as the president and vice president see it through, it will provide important leadership across the government.” Highlight. The historic bipartisan Safer Communities Act continues to push Congress to pass legislation to save lives.