Exclusive: Biden White House readies week of events on combatting gun violence
February 7, 2024   |     |   by dsfgvdf
Exclusive: Biden White House readies week of events on combatting gun violence

WASHINGTON ― The White House is set to hold a series of events this week focused on combatting gun violence in Black communities as President Joe Biden continues to push Congress to do more on gun control.

The events, organized by the newly created White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, kick off Monday with a nationwide virtual meeting with Black leaders on tackling gun violence in their communities. Biden will deliver a message recognizing this week as “Community Violence Awareness Week.”

White House officials will later host a roundtable discussion on gun violence with Black elected officials from across the country. It will be followed by a virtual workshop to connect state and local leaders to federal resources to address gun violence including community safety programs.

The week, which coincides with Black History Month, will culminate Friday with a White House ceremony hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris to honor 31 graduates of the inaugural class of trainees from the University of Chicago Crime Lab’s Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis that impacts our communities every day,” said Greg Jackson, deputy director of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. “And while we know we need action from Congress, there’s a lot we can do to create an all-of-government approach to this health crisis, and our team is charged with that.”

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President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House, April 8, 2021, in Washington.
Biden launched the Office of Gun Violence Prevention in September to expedite the implementation of executive actions he’s taken on gun violence and measures in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which passed in 2022 as the first significant overhaul in federal firearms laws in 30 years.

The law created a $750 million funding pot to incentivize states to create “red flag laws,” which allow police or family members to get a court order that temporarily confiscates firearms from individuals who pose a danger.

Biden has responded to mass shootings in the U.S. by repeatedly calling on Congress to take additional action: reinstate a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and pass legislation requiring gun background checks with gun purchases. His efforts have not found momentum because of resistance from Republicans in Congress, however.

Biden, who needs Black voters to get behind his reelection bid in the fall, has worked to show he’s delivered for their communities, last month touting a “small business boom” among Black-owned businesses during his presidency.

After gun violence spiked during the pandemic, 2023 saw an overall decrease in gun violence − dropping by 12.4%, according to the White House − including in major cities such as Baltimore, St. Louis and Detroit.

“We think that’s a direct result of the historic investments we have made to prevent and intervene in community violence across the country,” Jackson said, pointing to funding in the American Rescue Plan law that went to cities to address public safety.

The Office of Gun Violence Prevention’s mission is to also identify future actions to reduce gun violence, expand partnerships with local and state leaders to address gun violence and expand federal support for victims and families of victims of gun violence.


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