WASHINGTON (CN) — The White House is establishing a new office of gun violence prevention seeking to coordinate federal efforts to tighten regulations and increase safety.
Officials detailed the initiative to reporters on Thursday afternoon, with the White House planning an official announcement Friday.
The office will be overseen by Vice President Kamala Harris. Stefanie Feldman, an advisor to President Joe Biden, will serve as the office’s director and advocates Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox were appointed as deputy directors.
“I’ll continue to urge Congress to take commonsense actions that the majority of Americans support like enacting universal background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said in a statement. “But in the absence of that sorely needed action, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention along with the rest of my administration will continue to do everything it can to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our families, our communities, and our country apart.”
According to the nonpartisan Gun Violence Archive, 31,303 people have died of firearm-related causes in 2023 so far, including 17,424 suicides. The database reported at least 506 mass shootings so far this year, which are defined as shootings with at least four people injured or killed in a single incident.
“Every family, in every community, should have the freedom to live and to thrive,” Harris said in a statement. “We know true freedom is not possible if people are not safe. This epidemic of gun violence requires urgent leadership to end the fear and trauma that Americans experience every day.
Officials didn’t provide many details about how the office will specifically improve measures already announced to tighten gun regulations. A press release provided to reporters said it will “focus on implementing executive and legislative action,” while a large portion of the background call conducted by the administration with reporters focused on previous efforts supported by Biden and Harris during their time in the White House or other elected offices.
A senior administration official said the office will “identify new actions we can take to save lives.” They said it will focus on “being very creative” in working within existing laws, coordinating federal support for communities and partnering with state and local government efforts.
Officials did not have a number for the cost of the office, but said the money would come from annual appropriations provided to the White House by Congress.Follow @TheNolanStout
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