Biden gives gun-control lobby what it wants: a new federal office dedicated to stopping gun violence
President Biden on Friday created a new federal office of gun violence prevention to coordinate efforts across the government to curb gun crimes.
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden surrounded by lawmakers and mass shooting survivors and victim’s families, Mr. Biden said America was fed up with the bloodshed and he was committed to protecting lives.
“There comes a point where our voices are so loud, our determination is so clear that our effort can no longer be stopped,” Mr. Biden said. “We’ve reached that point today in my view, where the safety of our kids from gun violence is on the ballot.”
The office will identify new executive actions the administration can take to reduce gun violence, work to implement the bipartisan gun legislation Mr. Biden signed into law last year, coordinate support for survivors of mass shootings, including financial support and mental health care, and coordinate responses to gun violence across cities and states.
“None of these steps alone will solve the entirety of the gun violence epidemic, but it will save lives,” Mr. Biden said. “And it’s going to help — help rally the nation with a sense of urgency and seriousness of purpose.”
Vice President Kamala Harris will oversee the office. Stefanie Feldman, a longtime Biden aide who has worked on gun policy issues for more than a decade, will serve as its director.
Representatives from various gun control groups will also be involved in the office, including Greg Jackson, the executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox, the senior director for federal government affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety. They will both report to Ms. Feldman as deputy directors for the new office.
By creating the office, Mr. Biden is attempting to demonstrate that he’s active on the gun issue, appeasing a key constituency whose backing he’ll need for his 2024 reelection bid. Gun safety activists came together as a coalition to support Mr. Biden in 2020 and have already endorsed him for 2024.
Gun control groups for years have pressed Mr. Biden to take this action, which they argue is a way to enact gun safety legislation that has stalled in Congress. They say this new office will allow the administration to more swiftly implement gun policy while also empowering the White House to show leadership on the issue.
In January, a coalition of 117 gun control groups sent Mr. Biden a letter demanding the creation of a federal gun violence prevention office and a $5 billion fund for community violence intervention programs, prohibiting foreign-made firearms and stricter rules surrounding firearm marketing.
Gun-control groups immediately hailed the action.
“Once again, the Biden-Harris Administration is doubling down on being the strongest gun safety administration in our history and today’s announcement is only further proof that they’re using every tool at their disposal to save lives,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action.
Pro-gun groups decried the action as an attempt to subvert the Second Amendment through executive fiat.
“Yet another executive action from President Biden designed to weaken and ultimately destroy the Second Amendment,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights. “Make no mistake, Biden’s purpose is to create a Democrat-led Gun Control Office dedicated to anti-gun propaganda and disarming law-abiding citizens.”
Last year, Mr. Biden signed into law the most significant gun control bill in nearly 30 years with bipartisan support. It expanded background checks and incentivized states to pass red flag laws. It was passed in response to mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas in 2022.
It is unlikely a divided Congress will go any further on gun control legislation.