Vice President Kamala Harris will lead a newly established federal office of gun violence prevention, the White House has announced.
President Joe Biden is set to make the formal announcement on Ffriday during an event in the Rose Garden, where advocates and lawmakers will be in attendance.
Harris, who has been a prominent figure in gun safety policy, will oversee the office’s operations. The director of the new office will be Stefanie Feldman, a longtime aide to President Biden with over a decade of experience in working on gun policy issues.
“The new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will play a critical role in implementing President Biden’s and my efforts to reduce violence to the fullest extent under the law, while also engaging and encouraging Congressional leaders, state and local leaders, and advocates to come together to build upon the meaningful progress that we have made to save lives,” the vice president said in a statement.
“Our promise to the American people is this: we will not stop working to end the epidemic of gun violence in every community, because we do not have a moment, nor a life to spare,” she said.
Greg Jackson, the executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox, the senior director for federal government affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety, will serve as deputy directors of the new office and report to Stefanie Feldman.
Gun safety advocates have long called for the creation of such an office, viewing it as a significant step forward in addressing the issue of gun violence, especially when comprehensive gun safety legislation remains gridlocked in Congress. This office is seen as a means to coordinate federal government efforts on gun policy while providing leadership from the White House.
President Biden, in a statement, emphasized his commitment to addressing gun violence and preventing dangerous individuals from accessing firearms. He acknowledged the importance of taking further steps beyond the executive actions already taken to tackle the root causes of gun violence.
The timing of this announcement coincides with President Biden’s reelection campaign and presents an opportunity to engage and energize youth voters. It is part of a broader set of actions taken by the administration, including wins for climate and immigration advocates, aimed at addressing critical issues facing the nation. Activists and organizations like March For Our Lives welcome the establishment of the office.
“This is a great day for youth activism and a big step forward for gun safety,” said Natalie Fall, Executive Director of March For Our Lives. “We’ve called for this office for so many years because we know it will be a critical tool in our toolbox to end gun violence. The federal government has significant resources, in talent and treasure, to tackle the root causes of gun violence. For the first time, we have significant funding at the federal level to tackle gun violence and dozens of evidence-based programs that have been deployed over the years. We need someone to coordinate all of that and advise the President on how to cut through the red tape and take urgent action on gun violence.”