On the one-year anniversary of the Buffalo mass shooting, President Biden announced 13 new actions to reduce gun violence. These measures come in the wake of several mass shootings that have rocked the United States in recent years, leaving dozens dead and hundreds injured. In an op-ed for the USA Today where he discusses these actions, President Biden lamented the fact that despite taking more meaningful executive action on gun violence than any other president before him, Congress needs to act to address this issue fully.
The White House announced 13 measures that the Biden administration would take to maximize the effectiveness of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). This act passed in 2020, aims to combat gun violence in the United States by creating federal grants to help states enhance their background check procedures. The act also provides funding to states to provide mental health and school safety programs.
One of the measures that President Biden announced was to partner with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to get state and local law enforcement officials to work with them to implement BSCA’s priorities. These priorities include increasing response rates to enhanced background check inquiries and ensuring that arrest and adjudication records include additional documentation of dating relationships to keep more guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Another of the measures announced by President Biden was to convince state legislatures and governors’ offices to enact laws that allow the federal background check system to access records that could prohibit someone under the age of 21 from purchasing a firearm. The DOJ is also working with state and territory governments, and local law enforcement agencies to increase their response rates to federal background check system inquiries when someone under the age of 21 tries to purchase a gun.
In addition to these measures, the 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. This training will help implement BSCA’s provision that narrowed the “boyfriendSponsored Product loophole” to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers.
The White House also plans to ensure that BSCA’s mental health funding helps those who have been affected by gun violence. The Secretaries of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) will urge governors to use BSCA and Medicaid’s funding to help schools address trauma and mental health challenges resulting from gun violence. They will also educate health and social service providers, community leaders, and individuals on the effects of gun violence trauma on communities.
HHS will also clarify how early childhood providers can use BSCA funding to address mental health and gun violence trauma. They will highlight stories of how communities are effectively using BSCA’s mental health funding to help those affected by gun violence, in order to encourage other communities to adopt those strategies and effectively use BSCA’s resources. Additionally, 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. They will use the lessons learned to inform HHS’s future program development.
To further ensure school safety, 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 target K-12 leaders, school administrators, teachers, school personnel, parents, and legal guardians.
ED has taken steps to help states and school districts make effective use of BSCA’s $1 billion Stronger Connections Grant Program to improve school safety. They hosted a four-part webinar series that highlighted evidence-based practices for supporting student safety and well-being and published 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.
The DOJ also hosted a five-part webinar series to help local leaders use evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence. This helps communities maximize the benefits of BSCA’s community violence intervention funding.
While President Biden cannot make new laws on his own, his administration can implement them in the most effective way possible. President Biden has taken steps to address gun violence, but he needs Congress to do more. The difference between a Democratic and Republican administration is that Democrats are willing to recognize and engage with the problem. Republicans, on the other hand, act like mass shootings are an uncontrollable act of God that nothing can be done about.
President Biden is proving that more can be done to reduce gun violence if Republicans in Congress get on board. Gun violence is a crisis that affects every American. The solution requires a combined effort from both political parties. President Biden’s measures are a step in the right direction, but there’s still much work to be done.
The problem of gun violence in the United States is a contentious issue that has been debated for decades. The number of mass shootings in the United States has been steadily increasing in recent years, and it’s clear that something needs to be done to address this crisis. The measures announced by President Biden are a step in the right direction, and it’s imperative that both parties work together to create real change.
In conclusion, President Biden’s announcement of new measures to reduce gun violence in the United States is a welcome step in the right direction. The crisis of gun violence affects every American and requires a combined effort from both political parties to address fully. While President Biden cannot make new laws on his own, his administration’s actions are a reminder that there’s still plenty of work to be done. It’s time to come together as a nation to address this crisis and create a safer future for all Americans.