Guns Down America Calls on Biden to Take Executive Action and Create a National Office of Gun Violence Prevention

August 26, 2021

Biden Promised Action During Joint Address to Congress in April

WASHINGTON -- Following more than four months of inaction in the Senate to confirm the nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Guns Down America is calling on the Biden Administration to take bold executive action and create a National Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

“During his joint address to Congress in April, the President pledged ’I will do everything in my power to protect the American people from this epidemic of gun violence,’” said **Igor Volsky, Founder and Executive Director of Guns Down America. “**President Biden can take action now to keep that promise, without depending on the Senate and its slow-moving calendar. He can do that by creating a national office of gun violence prevention to address the gun-violence epidemic, appoint a senior-level director to lead the effort, and establish a coordinated federal response to reduce gun violence in America.”

The call for Biden to take bold executive action comes days after the Trace reported that the Biden Department of Justice defended a federal law that shields most gun manufacturers from civil lawsuits when their products are used to commit a crime -- PLCAA. As a candidate, Biden supported the repeal of PLCAA.

Guns Down America, March for Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance and Survivors Empowered made a formal request to the Biden Administration in a letter delivered to the administration on Aug. 25. View the letter here.

Noting that these actions represent the floor, not the ceiling for what progress on gun violence prevention can look like, the letter calls on Biden to:

  1. Establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention in order to streamline the government’s efforts to reduce violence, recognize gun violence as a national security crisis and a public health and prevention priority, and establish a long-term sustained effort to reduce gun deaths.
  2. Unveil a comprehensive strategy and proactive plan for pursuing your legislative agenda on gun reform in a way that creates a viable pathway for securing passage of these critical initiatives while supporters of reform still hold a narrow majority in the Senate, eliminating the filibuster if necessary.
  3. Use the presidential bully pulpit to talk to Americans about the risks and dangers of firearm ownership within the home and in our communities while also highlighting successful community efforts and legislative reforms that have saved lives across the nation.

The power to create task forces is embedded in the president’s Article II, Section 2 powers, which allow the President to “require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices,” which includes cabinet members, who head executive departments. Past presidents have established White House task forces using executive actions or presidential memorandums. There currently exist at least 8 offices of gun violence prevention in cities and states across the country.

The authority has been used on a bipartisan basis to create task forces on drug addiction (Trump) crime and public safety (Trump) a Council on women and girls (Obama), among others.