President Biden announced 13 new actions to reduce gun violence on the one year anniversary of the Buffalo mass shooting.
The President wrote in an op-ed for USA Today, “I have already taken more meaningful executive action to reduce gun violence than any other president, and I will continue to pursue every legal and effective action. But my power is not absolute. Congress must act, including by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring gun owners to securely store their firearms, requiring background checks for all gun sales, and repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability. We also need more governors and state legislators to take these steps.”
The White House announced 13 steps that Biden administration will take to maximize the effectiveness of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA):
Keeping guns out of dangerous hands
– The White House, in partnership with DOJ, will convene state and local law enforcement leaders to solicit their collaboration on BSCA implementation priorities, such as: 1) increasing state and local law enforcement agencies’ response rates to enhanced background check inquiries when someone under age 21 tries to purchase a gun; and 2) ensuring that arrest and adjudication records include additional documentation of dating relationships to keep more guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
– The White House, in partnership with DOJ, will convene state legislators and governors’ offices, urging them to enact laws allowing the federal background check system to access all records that could prohibit someone under age 21 from purchasing a firearm.
– DOJ is working with state and territory governments and local law enforcement agencies to increase their response rates to the federal background check system inquiries when someone under age 21 tries to purchase a gun. DOJ has held 18 webinars to date, attended by more than 500 law enforcement agencies, and has nine more planned.
– DOJ is training federal law enforcement and educating state and local law enforcement and prosecutors on the need for additional documentation of dating relationships in domestic abuse cases in order to implement BSCA’s provision that narrowed the “boyfriend loophole,” helping to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Ensuring BSCA’s mental health funding helps those dealing with the grief and trauma resulting from gun violence
– The Secretaries of HHS and ED will urge governors to use BSCA and Medicaid’s funding to help schools address the trauma and mental health challenges resulting from gun violence.
– HHS will educate health and social service providers, community leaders, and other individuals on the effects that gun violence trauma can have on communities.
– HHS will clarify how early childhood providers can use BSCA funding to address mental health and gun violence trauma.
– HHS will highlight stories of how communities are effectively using BSCA’s mental health funding to help those impacted by gun violence, in order to encourage other communities to adopt those strategies and effectively use BSCA’s resources.
– HHS will meet with trauma program grantees and select community members and providers to gather community-level data pertaining to the link between exposure to gun violence and trauma. Lessons learned will inform HHS’ future program development, and a report HHS will make available to other communities.
A- s part of the school-based services Technical Assistance Center established under BSCA, HHS and ED will jointly develop resources for states and schools regarding how schools can use Medicaid to fund school-based health services to help students dealing with the physical and emotional impacts of gun violence.
Making schools safer
– The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will launch a dedicated public campaign to bring greater awareness to SchoolSafety.gov and its available resources and evidence-based practices. The campaign will be geared towards K-12 leaders, school administrators, teachers, school personnel, and parents and legal guardians.
– ED has taken several steps to help states and school districts make effective use of BSCA’s $1 billion Stronger Connections Grant Program to improve school safety. For example, ED hosted a four-part webinar series that highlighted evidence-based practices for supporting student safety and well-being and published extensive Frequently Asked Questions to help states and school districts understand how they can effectively use this funding to ensure all schools are safe and welcoming to all students.
Expanding community violence interventions
– To help communities maximize the benefits of BSCA’s community violence intervention funding, DOJ hosted a five-part webinar series to help local leaders use evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence.
The President can’t make new laws, but his administration can implement them in the most effective way possible, so that they hopefully help in reducing gun violence. President Biden was correct. He needs Congress to do more, but the difference between a Democratic and Republican administration is that Democrats are willing recognize and engage with the problem.
Republicans act like mass shootings are uncontrollable act of God that nothing can be done about.
Biden is proving otherwise, and if Republicans in congress would get on board, a lot more could be done to save lives.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association