The White House will announce this week that it is creating an office of gun violence prevention to focus on efforts to curb gun violence, two sources familiar confirmed to The Hill.
Gun violence prevention advocates and Democratic lawmakers have been pushing the White House to establish a designated office solely focused on gun violence.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who is known for his focus on gun violence prevention, applauded the White House on Wednesday after reports of the first-of-its-kind office.
“This is an idea I have been pushing relentlessly for some time, and I’m thrilled President Biden is making the Office of Gun Violence Prevention a reality,” Murphy said in a statement, adding that the office will help strengthen the federal government’s implementation of the bipartisan gun control legislation.
Murphy and Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) introduced legislation this year to establish such an office within the Department of Justice.
March for Our Lives, which was created following the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in 2019, has been making the push for an office. And Community Justice Action Fund, the largest Black and survivor-led advocacy group, has been consistently demanding it too.
President Biden will announce the new office at a Friday event at the White House, The Washington Post first reported. Greg Jackson, the executive director of Community Justice Action Fund, is expected to attend the event, as well as Rob Wilcox, the senior director for federal government affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety, according to the Post.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Biden’s reelection campaign received early endorsements from four major gun violence prevention groups — Everytown for Gun Safety, Community Justice Action Fund, Giffords, and Brady.
Brady president Kris Brown in a statement said the group “adamantly supports the creation of such an office.”
“Gun violence is now the number one killer of American children, and a tragedy that directly impacts 1-in-5 Americans; that is why Brady has advocated and fought for an Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Tackling this epidemic will take a whole-of-government approach, and this new office would ensure the executive branch is focused on proven solutions that will save lives,” Brown said.
The gun violence prevention movement has been supportive of Biden’s efforts on gun control, but considers them to be first steps. Biden acknowledged in June that the bipartisan gun safety bill he signed into law last summer isn’t “enough.”
The White House has pushed its limits in terms of executive powers to curb gun violence. In its latest move, administration officials are eyeing a Justice Department-led expansion of background checks for gun purchases.
Biden has consistently called for Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require safe storage of guns, to end gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability and to enact universal background checks. But the GOP-controlled House and tight margins in the Senate have made the issues non-starters this Congress.