Washington, D.C. — Today, as President Joe Biden prepares for his first State of the Union address on March 1, more than 40 groups have signed a letter urging his administration to build upon the past year of action by taking critical steps to combat the nation’s gun violence epidemic. In its first year in office, the Biden administration has taken a number of important steps to address gun violence. Numerous executive actions—including those most recently announced in New York—have proved the administration’s dedication to taking a comprehensive approach to ending this public health crisis, addressing the root causes of gun violence, and promoting community violence prevention efforts. But with more than 100 people being killed with guns every day in this country, more remains to be done.
The letter contains a nonexhaustive list of executive actions the administration should take to address gun violence and implement a comprehensive approach to confronting this public health epidemic. Among others, the group recommends the following steps:
- Declare gun violence a public health crisis and fully fund resources for suicide prevention, community violence interruption, and other preventive health measures.
- Establish a federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention and appoint a senior-level White House official to coordinate federal efforts to address gun violence.
- Nominate and ensure confirmation of a new director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
- Implement measures to stop illegal gun trafficking across state lines and across international borders.
“The past few years have seen a dramatic rise in gun deaths in every state across the country, with an estimated 45,000 people losing their lives in 2021 alone. The response from many state governments has been to make it easier for dangerous people to access guns and flood our streets with violence,” said Alex Barrio, director of advocacy for Gun Violence Prevention at the Center for American Progress. “The State of the Union provides an opportunity for President Biden to lead on this issue and announce new, targeted efforts such as the creation of an Office of Gun Violence Prevention with a director who could coordinate efforts to stem the tide of violence. Even as crime overall around the country has dropped, gun violence continues to rise.”
“Gun violence has been increasing across the country, and there’s no better time for the Biden administration to take action than now,” added Adzi Vokhiwa, federal affairs director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “The executive actions issued in 2021 were the start to what will hopefully become a robust, whole-of-government approach to combating gun violence and its causes this year. We look forward to engaging with the Biden administration to improve public safety in every community.”
Read the letter here.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Tricia Woodcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.