In an unprecedented move, President Joe Biden has unveiled plans for the creation of a dedicated office for gun violence prevention. This groundbreaking office will fall under the supervision of Vice President Kamala Harris, with Stefanie Feldman, a seasoned policy adviser to Biden on gun-related matters, at the helm.
This significant move is a response to longstanding demands from advocacy groups who have urged the administration to have a centralized body to oversee gun violence prevention initiatives throughout federal departments.
Biden’s announcement also highlighted the need for congressional action. He emphasized the public’s desire for universal background checks and restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. “While I will keep pushing Congress for these crucial measures, my Administration, led by the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, will persistently strive to mitigate gun violence plaguing our nation,” Biden stated.
This development will be instrumental in enforcing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a landmark 2022 legislation aimed at preventing gun violence. This Act was introduced following the tragic event in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 individuals, including 19 students, were killed by a shooter.
Other pivotal members of this office include Greg Jackson, a gun violence survivor and the leader of the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox from Everytown for Gun Safety, both of whom will serve as deputy directors.
Recent administrative actions on this front include proposed regulations mandating commercial firearm sellers to have federal licenses and perform criminal background assessments. Additionally, Biden has utilized his executive powers to bolster background checks in March.
Furthermore, congressional efforts in this regard have been noteworthy. A proposal to establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention within the Justice Department was put forth by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla.
Sen. Murphy commended the inception of the new office, underscoring its potential to save numerous lives and reinforcing the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
Recent data from the CDC indicates that firearm-related homicides have surged to 5.9 per 100,000 in the previous year and currently stand around 5.22 per 100,000.