White House Opens Gun Violence Prevention Office

Derick Alison
Derick Alison
5 Min Read

The Biden administration said it is opening an Office of Gun Violence Prevention to focus more attention and resources on the issue.

“Guns are the number one killer of children in America, more than car accidents, more than cancer, more than other diseases,” President Biden said in an event Friday in the White House Rose Garden. “It’s totally unacceptable. It’s not who we are. We have to act, and we have to act now.”

The new office will have four primary responsibilities, Biden said:

  • Expedite implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as well as executive actions already announced by the White House
  • Coordinate more support for gun violence survivors, including providing mental healthcare and financial assistance
  • Identify new executive actions the administration can take to reduce gun violence
  • Expand the coalition of partners in cities and states across the country to help get local gun violence prevention laws passed

A senior administration official said Thursday that one particular focus of the office will be so-called “red flag” laws, which bar gun ownership from people who are found to present a possible danger to themselves or others.

“You have probably heard the President talking about extreme risk protection orders in nearly every speech he’s given on gun violence prevention, because he knows it is a tool that can work — it is a tool that can prevent suicide by firearm, it is a tool that can prevent homicides with firearms, and the President has called on more states to enact red flag laws, while he also urges Congress to act,” the official said.

“Even in the past year, we’ve seen two or three additional states enact red flag laws,” the official added. “One of the tasks of this office is going to be to develop partnerships with people in states who are working on red flag law implementation to make sure that we are providing best practices and giving them any other additional resources they need to make sure that we’re making the most out of red flag laws.”

Vice President Kamala Harris will oversee the new office, in which Stefanie Feldman — who has long advised President Biden on the issue — will serve as director. She will be assisted by deputy directors Greg Jackson and Bob Wilcox.

The White House was unable to provide details on how much the new office will cost, although one official did tell MedPage Today that the funding would come from Congress’s annual allocation for White House expenses.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was passed by Congress last year, already provides $750 million to states in support of red flag laws.

This law also has other provisions aimed at reducing gun violence, including enhancing background checks for gun buyers under 21; expanding prohibitions on gun ownership for domestic abusers, cracking down on gun trafficking, and granting $250 million to community gun violence intervention programs.

“President Biden has championed gun violence prevention for his entire career,” Feldman said Thursday in a briefing with reporters. “As senator he helped shepherd over the finish line the Brady Bill, which created the federal gun background check system we use today to keep guns out of dangerous hands. He also led the effort to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, a ban that was in place for 10 years.”

“But President Biden would be the first to say that we need to do so much more to address this public health epidemic of gun violence,” she continued. “He hears young people all around the country demanding a world in which they do not have to live in fear of gun violence. The President hears them, he agrees with them, and he is acting. He believes that now is the moment to accelerate our work to reduce gun violence, which is why he is establishing this office.”

  • author['full_name']

    Joyce Frieden oversees MedPage Today’s Washington coverage, including stories about Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, healthcare trade associations, and federal agencies. She has 35 years of experience covering health policy. Follow

Source link

Share this Article
Leave a comment
adbanner