This week marks one full year in the White House for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. In that one year, the Biden-Harris Administration has shown an unprecedented commitment to gun safety and using the force of the executive branch to save lives.
Here are the Biden-Harris Administration’s Top 5 accomplishments on gun safety in its first year:
- Unlock critical resources and invest in community violence intervention programs
Last April, the President centered community violence intervention (CVI) as part of his response to the surge in gun violence by leveraging 26 existing federal grant programs to support CVI, educating states on how to use Medicaid funding to reimburse CVI, and calling for a $5 billion investment in CVI as part of the American Jobs Plan and later including it in the Build Back Better Act. This wasn’t just a paper announcement – President Biden unveiled his plans in a landmark Rose Garden address while citing Everytown Support Fund’s Economic Cost of Gun Violence report. In March of 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to provide much-needed funding in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Biden then issued guidance that unlocked ARP funds for community violence intervention programs and in June, formed the Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, a cohort of 16 jurisdictions committed to using federal funding to scale and strengthen their CVI infrastructure. President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget called for $200 million devoted to evidence-informed, community-based interventions to address gun violence in cities.
- Crack down on ghost guns
Last April, following years of advocacy from Everytown and Moms Demand Action, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a proposed rule to rein in ghost gun dealers and stop the flood of untraceable, unserialized guns into our communities. After years of sounding the alarm and suing ATF, Everytown volunteers drove nearly 100,000 public comments in support of the proposed rule, which is expected to be finalized later this year. The Commerce Department also took important steps to fix an issue caused by the Trump Administration that failed to appropriately regulate blueprints for making downloadable guns. ATF has also proposed a rule on pistols affixed with arm braces – essentially deadly short-barreled rifles – that would require the majority of such devices currently on the market to be regulated under the National Firearms Act and require purchasers to undergo additional background checks, among other requirements.
- Combat illegal gun trafficking
The Department of Justice rolled out new “strike forces” to crack down on illegal gun trafficking in five key corridors to help stem gun violence in major cities. The Administration also directed ATF to focus on rogue gun dealers and take steps to shut them down. Additionally, ATF will issue a new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking and provide annual updates in order to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking. This came on the heels of a groundbreaking Everytown analysis that found that over a five-year period, law enforcement agencies across the United States recovered and fully traced 1,161,303 guns used in crimes. Of those determined to be likely-trafficked, over 80 percent came from states without background check laws.
- Prevent firearm suicide
In November, heeding Everytown’s call, the Biden-Harris Administration announced sweeping, cross-agency executive actions on suicide prevention and a robust Military and Veteran Suicide Prevention Strategy, focusing on access to firearms and secure storage. Historically, other plans have omitted access to guns from the array of solutions explored, despite the fact that suicide by firearm is far more lethal than other methods. The Administration’s actions came after Everytown shared a list of recommendations on suicide prevention with the White House and successfully urged them to act.
- Fund Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research
The CDC has committed to working on improving data collection on non-fatal shootings and studying the causes of and solutions to gun violence. To that end, the Biden-Harris Administration called for $50 million in its FY 2022 budget to study gun violence, its root causes, and the places where public health interventions can be made to stop shootings before they happen.
While the first year of the Biden-Harris Administration saw tremendous strides on gun safety, there is still so much more work to do to keep guns out of the wrong hands, hold rogue gun dealers accountable, and save lives – and we look forward to seeing the Administration continue to prioritize this work.