President Biden Earns a Disappointing D+ on His Gun Violence Prevention Record
April 8, 2022
Despite some forward strides, President Biden’s actions thus far don’t meet the scale of the gun violence crisis in America, nor do they make full use of the wide range of powers at his disposal
Washington, D.C. — On the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s marquee speech promising to prioritize gun violence prevention**,** March For Our Lives, Guns Down America, and Change the Ref released President Biden’s Gun Violence Prevention Report Card. The report card grades the actions the President has taken since his inauguration on a slew of issues, like stemming the flow of firearm trafficking, regulating untraceable guns, and effectively utilizing the Presidential bully pulpit to steer congressional and state action on gun safety. While steps that the President has taken should be acknowledged, the report card is clear: taken together his actions earn him a D+. There remains significant room for improvement.
“One year ago, President Biden stood in the Rose Garden and promised to champion gun violence prevention by issuing executive actions and pushing Congress to pass-life saving legislation,” said Igor Volsky, Executive Director of Guns Down America. “A year later, the President has taken meaningful steps to fund violence intervention programs but has failed to offer or implement a comprehensive vision for reducing all forms of gun violence in America. More than 53,000 Americans have now died from guns since Joe Biden became President – 3,500 in the last month alone. The President must live up to the promises he made to the American people and do everything and anything in his power to save lives.”
“As the President has rightly pointed out, there are a lot of gun safety regulations that can’t be enacted without congressional approval,” said Zeenat Yahya, March For Our Lives’ Director of Policy. “This report card aims to grade the President solely on the tools that the President does have to effect real, meaningful change unilaterally and without congressional approval. Unfortunately, even on this criteria, the President’s performance underwhelms with a dismal D+ grade. More needs to be done, and advocates cannot and will not accept this performance. Lives are at stake”
The President earns high marks for a number of actions he has taken, like moving to regulate untraceable "ghost guns," using executive actions to allocate some funding for community violence intervention, and providing states with template legislation to prevent individuals from harming themselves or others with a firearm. But he continues to leave much on the table — the ATF remains leaderless, proposed rulings from the ATF have taken nearly a year to promulgate, legislation and crucial funding in congress have languished without a White House champion to lobby for it, the President has taken limited executive actions on gun violence prevention, and President Biden has yet to hold a marquee address to push for gun safety since April 2020.
While the report card is a tongue-in-cheek effort at drawing attention to the President's lackluster gun violence prevention agenda, the fact is President Biden's shortcomings have deadly consequences for communities across America. Since he took office in January 2021, nearly 54,000 Americans have lost their lives to the worst gun violence epidemic in recent memory. It’s time for immediate, forceful action.