President Biden announced Friday that his administration was creating the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, described as the first of its kind in American history.
The office will "drive and coordinate a government and a nationwide effort to reduce gun violence in America," Biden said while announcing the initiative at the White House. In creating the office, the president said he is "determined to send a clear message about how important this issue is to me and to the country. It matters."
"After every mass shooting, we hear a simple message — the same message heard all over the country, and I’ve been to every mass shooting: Do something. Please do something," Biden said. The president added that his administration had "announced dozens of executive actions to reduce gun violence — more than any of my predecessors at this point in their presidencies."
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The office will be helmed by Vice President Kamala Harris, who said in her own remarks that she would "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."
The creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention comes after the passage of the Safer Communities Act, bipartisan legislation passed in 2022 that enhances gun control laws and school safety. Biden is continuing to urge Congress to pass additional legislation, most notably universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons. These actions were not taken when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress and appear unlikely to occur now given the current Republican control of the House.
This year has seen a continued spike in gun violence across the country. There have been at least 506 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive — more than one per day on average.
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