As Biden's first year in office draws to an end, gun control advocates are disappointed that there has not yet been any progress on gun control.
Gun Control Advocates Disappointed With Biden
Despite high hopes a year ago during his Presidential campaign when talking about reducing mass shootings and protecting Americans' right as safe handgun owners, gun control advocates felt let down by Biden.
Detroit Michigan School Shooting
The recent school shooting in Michigan has been a devastating blow to the nation, and many are disappointed that Joe Biden's response fell short.
“very weak, very fragile, very political.”
Manuel Oliver, father of one of the 17 people killed in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida recalls when the Democratic Party would jump and complain when gun violence like this happens during the Trump administration.
Hence, the lack of reaction to the Michigan Mass Shooting is disappointing for him. He thinks that the president should at least have met with the families of the victims of last week’s shooting.
“We're talking about the President of the United States and we’re talking about innocent people dying from something that is preventable. So explain to me how we really can’t do anything else. – Manuel Oliver “
Watch Joe Biden's response here:
Joe Biden, like his predecessors before him, has taken executive action to reduce gun violence while legislation that would expand background checks remains stuck in Senate.
With no major legislation passed and many policies not actioned upon by Congress–they are feeling disappointed.
He Hasn't Been A Real Leader
Zeenat Yahya, deputy policy director at March for Our Lives said that she thinks that the biggest thing to highlight here is that the president has been for the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement this year and they are thankful, but also said frankly that the President hasn’t really been a leader.
“We’re definitely surprised. We were really hopeful and he made a lot of promises. We are thankful for some of the actions the president has already taken but there is so much more he can do that’s a comprehensive top-to-bottom approach”
The advocates want Biden to apply more pressure on Congress and move forward with gun violence legislation, where a 50-50 Senate evenly divided between parties is holding up progress. Activists acknowledge the political roadblocks but remain disappointed nonetheless.
What is the Plan?
Executive Director and Co-founder of Giffords Gun Control Group Peter Ambler said that they would like to see more from the Biden administration. He has said that what we need more than anything right now is a comprehensive strategy to deal with this reality.
Fred Guttenberg, a senior adviser for the Brady Campaign and father of one of those victims from Parkland High School in Florida said that he doesn't think the administration has done enough to prevent gun violence.
Pushing back against criticism that their administration lacks any sort of comprehensive strategy, Stef Feldman, a senior adviser to the domestic policy in the White House said that a comprehensive strategy is exactly what they have done in 2021 and will continue to execute on it in the new year.
She went on to say their approach includes multiple agencies and is aimed at addressing mass shootings, suicide rates in communities, domestic violence cases as well as accidental gun deaths. They also want to hold dealers accountable when they sell weapons that end up being used for crime or past crimes like murder-suicides.
Executive Orders Issued By Biden
In June, Biden issued executive orders to reduce the proliferation of ghost guns and established regulations for stabilizing braces on firearms.
He also pledged his support in helping states pass red flag legislation as well as sharing best practices among them so they can be more effective at preventing violence from happening within their borders
Zero Tolerance Policy
The United States Department of Justice launched a crime reduction strategy in May, involving investments for intervention programs and targeted enforcement efforts.
It has also unveiled what it calls its “zero tolerance” policy – the taking away federal licenses from dealers who sell to prohibited individuals.
The Strongest Gun Safety Administration
John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety argued that the Biden administration has been their strongest gun-safety advocate.
He pointed to their efforts in stopping illegal gun trafficking with DOJ strike forces and proposed rule reining-in ghost guns as being examples where this year was just a start and says that he is expecting more from 2021 onward.
Oxford High School Shooting
The shooting at Oxford High School in November raised questions about the safe storage of firearms and whether children should be allowed to carry them. Biden spoke briefly after the incident, but advocates wanted more from him.
Guttenberg expressed his disappointment at how little attention was paid to what happened in a public way. He hopes this doesn't happen again and said that “the failure to more dramatically acknowledge what happened” left him feeling bad about it all.
Watch this video of President Biden's Comment on the Oxford High School Shooting that resulted in 3 killed and 6 injured:
The Biden administration's plan to prevent suicide and reduce firearm violence was announced just weeks before the shooting took place. The initiative includes steps for individuals at risk of hurting themselves, including promoting safe storage in homes where guns are present.
The Democrats in the Senate are attempting to expand background checks for gun sales but have been blocked by Republicans. The president has consistently called on these lawmakers not only to pass this legislation but also another House-passed bill that would keep guns from being sold or transferred to a domestic abuser's hands.
American Rescue Plan
The American Rescue Plan, which Biden signed into law in March, included funding for local governments to use toward community violence intervention as well as hiring more police officers.
Read also: Biden Unveils $1.9T American Rescue Plan
Build Back Better Program
His Build Back Better Act doesn't have enough votes right now but it would provide $5 billion in community violence interventions and preventions.
Community Justice Action Fund
Community Justice Action Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group that seeks to end gun violence in communities across America by funding programs for intervention and prevention of it has praised Biden’s work.
CJAF Executive Director Greg Jackson said that these evidence-based lifesaving initiatives funded with federal dollars through an executive order signed last year works. Community-based violence intervention is a change made possible because Biden put pressure from his position as chairperson overall government spending priorities.
The recent vacancy at the head of ATF has left many wondering who will be in charge. Biden pulled his nominee after moderate Democrats and Republicans opposed him, but regardless there's no one in charge.
This lack of coordination is reflective of some failures within government which could lead us down an even more dangerous path as time goes by.
Peter Amber of Gifford said that the lack of a Senate-confirmed ATF director makes it more difficult for the Biden administration to achieve its goal of reducing gun violence in America.
“The Senate had the opportunity to confirm a supremely qualified and dedicated public servant as ATF director. Instead, the gun lobby’s campaign of baseless conspiracy theories and outright lies succeeded in blocking him. David Chipman would have worked tirelessly with local law enforcement to curb the current spike in gun violence ravaging communities by enforcing the gun laws on the books. Instead, the end result is a weakened ATF, which is a win for a gun industry that profits from fear-mongering.
“The gun lobby’s extremism, corruption, and dishonesty are well known to regular Americans, so it’s shocking that senators would not only accept the self-interested arguments of industry groups like the NSSF and NRA but go so far as to parrot their lies. This is a shameful day. We are less safe as a result of the Senate’s failure to confirm David Chipman.”
Despite having no confirmed director, ATF has made progress on three significant rules this year:
- Ghost Guns
- Arms Races
- Safe Storage
Ghost Guns Order
Advocates all pointed to the ghost guns order when asked for the biggest success of the administration on guns.
Ghost guns are an existential threat to the safety of Americans (Ambler). Ghost guns are undetectable because they do not have serial numbers, and can be made through kits at home by anyone with even a little knowhow about firearms assembly.
Advocates are staying optimistic that Congress can move on legislation while the 2022 midterms quickly approach. They point out how close we've come but worry about losing momentum.
“We are closer than we’ve ever been to passing legislation. My fear is that we’re also closer than we’ve ever been to permanently losing the chance to do so. 2022 is so critical on this issue.”- Guttenberg.
Watch Biden's Announcement of his comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence, zero tolerance on gun dealers:
What do you think about the Oxford High School Shooting in Michigan? Do you think that this could have been stopped?
What do you think of Biden's comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence? Also, What do you think about his first year in office? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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