President Joe Biden is reportedly creating the first-ever federal office of gun violence prevention, a step pushed by gun control activists.
Biden is set to make the announcement on Friday, according to The Washington Post. The president plans to leverage the new office, which will employ gun control activists in key roles, against Congress to push legislation on restricting firearms.
White House staff secretary Stefanie Feldman, a longtime Biden aide who has specialized in gun control research and legislation, will oversee the office’s work and be its liaison to the White House, the report said. Two senior members of gun control groups – the Community Justice Action Fund’s executive director, Greg Jackson, and Everytown for Gun Safety’s senior director for federal government affairs, Rob Wilcox – are expected to hold positions in the office, according to the Post.
Gun control groups are championing the report ahead of the office’s expected reveal in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon.
“A White House office of gun violence prevention would build on the already tremendous record of President Biden and Vice President Harris on gun safety,” Peter Ambler, the executive director of a gun control group called Giffords, told POLITICO. “This has been a top priority of ours for years, and it would provide an important center of gravity for leadership across the administration as the President and Vice President implement the historic Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and continue to push Congress to pass legislation to save lives. The hiring of Greg and Rob would show how seriously this administration takes its responsibility to address this crisis.”
Biden’s push for gun restrictions, such as a crackdown on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, has so far failed to gain enough traction to pass through Congress. The issue was a prominent agenda item in his presidential campaign at a time when he aligned himself with former U.S. representative and failed Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.
Biden has also called for reforms that would mandate background checks across all gun purchases and strip immunity from gun manufacturers that “knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.” In February, he pitched the proposals as “commonsense gun law reforms.”
Despite his failure to move the reforms through Congress, the president’s administration has taken steps to crack down on gun sellers by reinterpreting federal statutes governing Federal Firearms Licenses.
Critics have panned the Biden administration’s stance toward gun sellers.
“This latest action by the Biden administration is yet another step in their campaign to attack law-abiding gun owners,” NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Randy Kozuch told Fox News in September. “The Bipartisan ‘Safer Communities’ Act’s passage is now a pretext to require government permission before exercising a constitutional right.”
“It’s a stark reminder to legislators: give gun controllers any legislative tool, no matter how benign, and they’ll use it to shred the Second Amendment,” he said. “The Biden Administration will clearly use all the tools at their disposal to interfere with our freedoms while doing nothing to stop the violent criminals responsible for America’s recent crime surge.”