Gun control activists pressure POTUS to act on anniversary of Parkland shooting

Gun Rights

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that claimed the lives of 17 students and staff and injured 17 others. But with little ground gained on getting guns off the streets since the attack, survivors and activists are calling upon President Joe Biden to command change.

Biden issued a statement on Monday commemorating the deadliest school massacre in American history:

My Administration stands with those working to end this epidemic of gun violence. I have put forward a comprehensive plan to reduce gun crime that includes curbing the proliferation of ‘ghost’ guns, cracking down on gun dealers who willfully violate the law, issuing model extreme risk protection order legislation for states, and promoting safe firearm storage, among other efforts. The Department of Justice is also helping more cities adopt smart law enforcement models like the one I recently saw in New York City, in which federal, state, and local law enforcement work together to share intelligence and remove shooters from our streets.

I’ve asked Congress to pass a budget that provides an additional half billion dollars for proven strategies we know reduce violent crime — accountable community policing and community violence interventions. I have also requested increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals. And Congress must do much more — beginning with requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers.

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Biden also famously pledged during the 2020 presidential campaign to take on the now-bankrupt National Rifle Association along with the nation’s gigantic firearm lobby.

“I’m the only guy that’s beaten the gun manufacturers. I’m the only guy that’s beaten the NRA nationally and I did it twice. And gun manufacturers, I’m coming for you. Period,” Biden said during a town hall hosted by CNN.

On Monday, however, CNN’s Brianna Keilar pointed out to March for our Lives founder and Parkland survivor David Hogg that Biden has not yet fulfilled his promise to curb gun violence.

“He hasn’t come for them, David. What’s your reaction?” the New Day co-host asked Hogg.

“I’m disappointed. And frankly, if I could say one thing to the president, it’s that we need you to go out and act right now before the next Parkland happens. Because there are things that you can do right now to help prevent it that you have not done,” Hogg replied. “We need you to make good on your promises because kids are dying.”

Hogg’s organization is planning a rally outside of the White House with Guns Down America and Change the Ref where the groups hope to grab the attention of the public as well as the president, in whom Hogg has expressed palpable disappointment.

“Biden has been a friend but not a leader,” Hogg said of Biden on CNN. “He’s made small steps but it’s not enough. The President hasn’t been receptive to our demands. We expected this from [former President Donald] Trump, but we’re shocked that it’s coming from Biden.”

The activists want Biden to “establish a national office of gun violence prevention,” further “invest in community violence intervention programs,” “hold the gun industry accountable” and “use the presidential bully pulpit” to give the issue of gun violence the scrutiny that they believe it deserves, CNN reported.

“We need to show Biden that over the past four years we have showed up. The movement helped elect the most pro-gun violence prevention President. He’s already acted on this in the past, and he needs to do it as president,” Hogg added.

Igor Volsky, the founder of Guns Down America, echoed Hogg’s frustrations with Biden’s inaction on guns.

“We’re not asking for magical things. This is the bare minimum for what a champion of gun violence prevention should be doing, and thus far the President hasn’t,” Volsky told CNN. “It’s been incredibly frustrating and frankly angering that as we see gun sales skyrocket, as we see gun homicides skyrocket, as we see a dramatic increase in the threat of political violence in this country and mass shootings, that this President has yet to issue a truly comprehensive plan of action.”

Volsky also explained that the public needs to prod their elected officials into paying necessary heed to the politically volatile issue.

“The missing ingredient is public pressure, and that’s the gap this campaign is trying to fill,” Volsky said. “The significant increase in gun violence over the last couple of years is simply too hard to ignore and, I do believe the President when he says and when he said that this issue is a priority for him. And so if you’re able to organize enough public pressure to get him to understand that there’s actually a political cost to ignoring the promises he made, then you can get the President to move.”

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