Biden announces first-ever Gun Violence Prevention Office

23 Sep 2023 08:11am
US President Joe Biden announces the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP
US President Joe Biden announces the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP

HOUSTON - United States (US) President Joe Biden on Friday announced the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to tackle the epidemic of senseless shooting deaths in the US.

"Guns are the number one killer of children in America, more than car accidents, more than cancer, more than other diseases," Anadolu Agency (AA) quoted Biden saying at a White House news conference.

"In 2023 so far, our country has experienced more than 500 mass shootings and well over 30,000 deaths due to gun violence. This is totally unacceptable. It's not who we are and we have to act and we have to act now.

"Shootings are the ultimate super storm ripping through communities,” said Biden, citing the alarming gun violence statistics from this year alone.

Biden said the new office was created through an executive order that aimed to expedite the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed by Congress last year, coordinate more support for survivors, families and communities affected by gun violence including mental health care and financial assistance, identify new executive actions the administration can legally take to reduce gun violence, and expand the coalition of partners in states and cities across America to get gun safety laws passed on a local level.

The president said the combination of cracking down on ghost guns, breaking up gun trafficking rings, creating universal background checks and requiring safe storage of firearms will all contribute to reducing gun violence. He also vowed to continue his pursuit to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"None of these steps alone is going to solve the entirety of the gun violence epidemic, none of them, but together, they will save lives," said Biden.

Vice President Kamala Harris will oversee the new office, touting her experience as a former prosecutor, attorney general and US senator who has consistently advocated for gun violence prevention.

"In our country today, one in five people has lost a family member to gun violence. Every day, about 120 Americans are killed by a gun," said Harris.

"We cannot normalise any of this. These are not simply statistics. These are our children, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers."

The vice president said that it is a false notion to suggest that Americans have to choose between supporting the Constitution's Second Amendment right to bear arms or passing reasonable gun safety laws and emphasized that common sense solutions can be found by both sides of the gun issue.

"With this new office, we will use the full power of the federal government to strengthen the coalition of survivors and advocates and students and teachers and elected leaders to save lives and fight for the right of all people to be safe from fear and to be able to live a life where they understand that they are supported in that desire and that right.

"We owe it to them and to those living in fear, to act without delay, and on this issue, we do not have a moment to spare nor a life to spare," added Harris. - BERNAMA-ANADOLU