WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements applauding today’s White House United We Stand Summit, focused on countering hate-motivated violence in the United States. Everytown’s Senior Vice President for Law & Policy, Nick Suplina, will be attending today’s event.
Throughout his administration, President Joe Biden has spotlighted the growing threat of extremism. Additionally, Attorney General Merrick Garland has made combating extremism a top priority at the Department of Justice, including naming it as the top security threat.
“The murder of ten Black people in a Buffalo supermarket was yet another reminder of what can happen when racism comes armed,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown is proud to join the Biden-Harris Administration in its call to disarm hate and stop these preventable tragedies.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration understands that disarming hate is one of the most urgent priorities our country faces,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Too many places, from our grocery stores to our places of worship, have become the site of hate-motivated violence. When safe spaces no longer feel safe, entire communities suffer.”
“Communities of color, and Black communities specifically, are disproportionately impacted by gun violence and the increase in hate-motivated violence we’ve seen,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Everytown’s Senior Vice President of Movement Building. “We must confront and disarm white supremacy and hate, and that starts with the national coordinated response we’re seeing from the Biden-Harris Administration.”
Any plan to tackle violent extremism must address the tool most commonly used by extremists to perpetrate violence and intimidation: guns. Today’s announcement by the White House includes several elements long championed by Everytown and Moms Demand Action. Most notably, the announcement includes a focus on school safety, including the need to “promote and expand programs for secure firearm storage at home.” The White House also announced several new commitments from the technology sector, including YouTube, Meta, Twitch, and Microsoft. Everytown has been ringing the alarm about YouTube’s weak content moderation practices relating to firearm videos, and Meta’s unfathomable “10 strike” rule that allows a user to be caught selling guns on the platform 10 times before they are banned.
In June 2021, President Biden initiated a national strategy for combating domestic terrorism, and the President also took the crucial step of nominating Steve Dettelbach as his ATF director and ensuring his confirmation. Director Dettelbach has experience prosecuting domestic violent extremists and has worked both inside and outside of government to implement broader strategies to confront domestic terrorism. Director Dettelbach is also critical to the implementation of the federal ghost gun rule, which stops the proliferation of untraceable, homemade firearms.
Beyond what the Administration has already done, there are more steps the federal government should take to ensure it is using all of the resources and tools at its disposal to combat domestic terrorism, including:
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) should work with state and local law enforcement partners to disarm individuals who display signs that they are a danger to their communities by utilizing Extreme Risk laws, as well as incorporate the disarming of domestic extremists into the Extreme Risk implementation program authorized by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
- The new ghost gun regulation must be fully enforced. That starts with rejecting an erroneous industry interpretation of the rule that unserialized and unfinished frames and receivers may continue to be sold so long as they are not accompanied by jigs, drill bits, or instructions.
- DOJ must utilize existing federal laws to swiftly prosecute unlawful armed intimidation, paying particular attention to extremists who violate other individuals’ rights to speak freely, peacefully assemble or petition the government.