Biden gives Kamala ANOTHER job: President taps VP to run the first ever federal gun violence prevention office
- Harris also oversees voting rights and the increase in migration
- A former prosecutor she has a history of working on issue
- Gun violence expected to be a big issue in 2024 campaign
Biden will formally announce his decision in a ceremony in the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon. Harris will oversee the office. Stefanie Feldman, a longtime Biden aide who has worked on gun policy for more than a decade, will serve as its director.
Harris, a former prosecutor and state attorney general, has years of experience on the issue.
But the vice president now has some of the nation’s highest-profile policy issues on her plate – including voting rights, abortion, and the increase in migration across the United States border.
They’re also the most politically-fraught issues, are difficult to solve, and can be a minefield to navigate.
‘The new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will play a critical role in implementing President Biden’s and my efforts to reduce violence to the fullest extent under the law, while also engaging and encouraging Congressional leaders, state and local leaders, and advocates to come together to build upon the meaningful progress that we have made to save lives,’ the vice president said in a statement.
Harris has met with communities that have suffered from gun violence. She has taken on a more combative role within the administration as the White House ramps up for the 2024 election.
In August, she gave a speech on gun violence in Chicago, where she said: ‘There are some people who are just trying to sell a false choice … that you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment, or you want to take everyone’s guns away.’
Advocacy groups have been pressuring Biden to create such an office to help coordinate efforts across the government to decrease gun violence.
President Biden ‘hears young people all around the country demanding a world in which they do not have to live in fear of gun violence,’ Feldman said about the creation of the new office.
Gun violence is also likely to be a major in the 2024 presidential campaign and important to some of the voting groups Biden is targeting: suburban women, voters of color and younger voters.
The president has been using his executive power to work to combat gun violence given that legislative efforts have gotten stuck on Capitol Hill.
In 2022, Congress passed major gun legislation although it did not contain all the items Biden had pushed for. It expanded background checks and provided millions of dollars for mental health services and school security initiatives.
Biden has advocated for re-instating the national assault weapons ban but with Republicans now in control of the House and Democrats running the Senate, passing legislation on Capitol Hill is a tough prospect.
‘I’ll continue to urge Congress to take common sense 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,’ he said.
President Joe Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of some politically-fraught issues, including gun violence, voting rights and migration
Democrats largely favor stricter gun laws, citing the number of deaths from mass shootings and school shootings.
Republicans, who have strong support from the National Rifle Association largely oppose such laws, citing the second amendment.
But polls show Americans are growing more concerned about the number of shootings in the country. The U.S. has one of the highest rate of gun violence in the world.
Six-in-ten U.S. adults say gun violence is a very big problem in the country today, with 62% of Americans saying they expect the level of gun violence to increase over the next five years, according to the Pew Research Center.
So far in 2023, there have been 504 mass shootings in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive.