US President Joe Biden on September 22 announced a new office dedicated to gun violence prevention. The office, to be led by Vice President Kamala Harris, who pursued gun safety measures when she was California’s top prosecutor, will help the administration coordinate gun policy and pressing congressional leaders to act on the issue.
The Office of Gun Violence Prevention aims to combat a growing US national crisis through executive action instead of the more sweeping reforms that would require congressional approval. “We all want our kids to have the freedom to learn how to read and write instead of duck and cover, for God’s sake,” US President Biden said during remarks in the Rose Garden, where survivors of school shootings were among the hundreds of attendees.
For more than a decade, the US political system has been deadlocked on major changes to gun laws, despite several ghastly shootings.
In her address, Kamala Harris illustrated the urgency of the office’s mission. One in five people have lost a family member to gun violence, about 120 people are killed by a gun every day, and Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to be victims of gun violence and homicides; Latino Americans are twice as likely, she said.