On September 22, 2023, President Biden announced the creation of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to “centralize, accelerate, and intensify” the Administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence. Stephanie Feldman, who has worked extensively with the Administration on domestic policy issues, was tapped as its first Director.
During the announcement in the Rose Garden, Vice President Harris, who will oversee the office, stated: "With this new office, we will use the full power of the federal government to strengthen the coalition of survivors and advocates and students and teachers and elected leaders, to save lives and fight for the right of all people to be safe from fear and to be able to live a life where they understand that they are supported in that desire and that right." Legislation to create such an office was introduced last year in both chambers of Congress but failed to garner any action.
Within weeks after the announcement, Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-MT) introduced a bill to terminate President Biden’s newly created Office of Gun Violence Prevention. “64% of Montana households own a firearm, which is why I will not stand by and allow Joe Biden to use taxpayer funds to create an unconstitutional office that infringes on our 2nd Amendment rights,” he said.
On October 12, ABA President Mary Smith sent a letter to Director Feldman commending the Biden Administration for its ongoing commitment to reducing gun violence. “Recently establishing the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to tackle the nationwide epidemic of gun-related incidents will help ensure that Members of Congress, advocates, and victims/survivors work collaboratively in this important effort,” Smith said. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 500 mass shootings so far this year.
Over the course of the last six decades, the ABA has adopted many non-partisan and evidence-informed policies aimed at curbing the scourge of gun violence in America. For example, we have policies addressing guns on college campuses, in courthouses and in polling places; ghost guns; extreme risk protection orders; and permits and background checks required to purchase guns.
In recent years, the ABA Standing Committee on Gun Violence has worked closely with leading national health organizations to call for evidence-informed actions to address gun violence as a public health crisis. Last year, the ABA advocated for many of the provisions in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that the new office is expected to help implement, along with other key executive and legislative measures designed to prevent gun violence and save lives.
The ABA recognizes that there is no one solution to this stubborn public health crisis, but there are proven solutions, consistent with the Second Amendment, that can be legislated and implemented quickly, some of which were enacted as part of last year’s bipartisan legislation.
Follow us on social media platforms @ABAGrassroots to learn more about legislative and executive branch efforts to reduce gun violence as they happen.