According to insiders familiar with the administration's plans, President Joe Biden is set to establish the first-ever federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention. The move is promoted by the administration as a major milestone to address rising gun violence across the United States.
Sources who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity indicate that President Biden is planning to formally announce the creation of the office at an event at the White House this Friday.
The new body is expected to serve as a central hub for coordinating efforts to combat gun violence at the federal level. It will also assist states grappling gun violence and take the lead in implementing bipartisan gun legislation signed into law last year.
The White House aims to keep the issue of gun violence at the forefront of national discourse as President Biden continues to push for a ban on so-called "assault weapons" and calls upon Congress to take legislative action.
“The creation of an Office of Gun Violence Prevention in the White House will mark a turning point in how our federal government responds to an epidemic that plagues every state and every community in America,” said Kris Brown, president of the gun safety organization Brady, which has been advocating for the establishment of the office since 2020.
The Office of Gun Violence Prevention is expected to work closely with federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, to formulate comprehensive strategies for tackling gun violence.
Critics have blasted the move, questioning the efficacy of creating a new federal office and argue that it may lead to government overreach.
According to informed sources, Greg Jackson, who serves as the Executive Director of the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox from Everytown for Gun Safety are anticipated to occupy positions in the newly-formed office. Stef Feldman, the White House Staff Secretary, is expected to supervise the operation of this new federal body. Initial details of the White House's plans were first made public by The Washington Post.
“There are few people who care more about the work of gun violence prevention than President Biden,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who has drafted legislation with Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., that would create such an office. “Establishing a White House office dedicated to this fight will save thousands of lives and strengthen the federal government’s implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.”