President Biden is set to announce the creation of a new office for gun violence prevention at an event in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon. The move represents a major escalation of the administration’s efforts to tackle the issue, which has seen little progress in Congress.
According to four sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Biden and Vice President Harris will lead the event, where they will lay out plans for the new office. The office will report up through Stefanie Feldman, the White House staff secretary, who has worked on the issue for years. It will also feature the leadership of Greg Jackson, a gun violence survivor and executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox, a senior director at Everytown for Gun Safety.
Gun violence prevention groups have been pushing for the creation of such an office since Biden’s election, arguing that it will help coordinate efforts across the federal government to reduce gun violence. They believe that having a centralized team responsible for national policy, research, and resources will increase the effectiveness of their efforts.
Shannon Watts, founder emerita of Moms Demand Action, a group working to stop gun violence, reacted positively to the news, saying, “If this announcement is, in fact, the creation of a single point of leadership on gun violence in the administration, it’s a very big deal for the movement.”
The need for more coordinated action against gun violence is pressing. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have already been 504 mass shootings in the United States in 2023, with the term “mass shooting” defined as an incident in which four or more people are killed or injured. This alarming statistic highlights the urgent need for concrete action and solutions to the problem.
The new office is also seen as a way for Biden to exert more leadership on the issue, which has become a key part of his agenda. As a candidate, Biden promised to take action against gun violence and has repeatedly called for sweeping changes to the country’s gun laws, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Despite bipartisan legislation being passed earlier this year that expanded background checks and limited access to firearms for domestic violence offenders, much bolder action is needed. With the White House now taking a more active role in addressing the issue, there is renewed hope that progress can be made.
“The President has long been a champion for gun violence prevention and we applaud his efforts to create a more coordinated and mobilized approach to the issue,” said Zeenat Yahya, director of policy at student-led organization March for Our Lives.
The creation of the new office also comes as Biden’s reelection campaign ramps up. With gun violence remaining a top concern for many Americans, taking decisive action will not only help prevent future tragedies but could also be a key factor in securing support for the President’s next term. As the White House prepares to officially launch the new office, all eyes will be on Biden to see how he will continue to lead the charge against gun violence in the country.