The campaign to push President Joe Biden (D.) to take more unilateral action on guns has expanded with a more extensive list of demands and the support of major national groups.
A coalition of 43 gun-control groups sent an open letter to the Biden Administration on Thursday in a renewed effort to see the President take immediate executive action on guns. The letter included the support of some of the most prominent national gun control organizations, including Brady and Giffords.
“The Administration can, and must, do more in 2022 or potentially face an even more dramatic increase in gun violence than we saw these past years,” the letter reads. “We cannot afford to wait for a stagnated Congress to take action; instead, we implore your Administration to use the authority of the office to reverse this deadly trend.”
The letter marks a new escalation in the recent push to see Biden expand on his use of executive authority on guns. It comes after a group of smaller gun-control organizations publicly criticized Biden earlier this month and launched a campaign to see the President unilaterally create an executive Office of Gun Violence Prevention. The new letter echoes that demand and, with the backing of even bigger organizations, provides an expanded “non-exhaustive” list of executive actions for the President to take.
However, notably absent from the letter was the nation’s largest gun-control organization–Everytown for Gun Safety.
The list of executive actions recommended by the groups includes calls to “limit gun carrying on federal public lands” and “preclude the use of ‘stand your ground’ as a defense on federal property.” The letter also calls for the President to standardize the definition of a mass shooting in the federal government to include “events where four or more people are shot, not including the shooter.”
Other recommended executive actions directly targeted the firearms industry. The letter called for a crackdown on importations of “foreign-made assault weapons.” It also called for the federal government to distance itself from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade group.
“Stop funding, partnering, or co-branding programs with the National Sports Shooting Foundation via the Department of Justice and other Federal Agencies,” the letter said. “No longer should the ATF hold private briefing and training sessions at NSSF’s annual SHOT SHOW without making their remarks available to the public online.”
Officials with the NSSF called the demands in the letter “repugnant” and said if acted upon, they could jeopardize efforts to prevent the criminal misuse of firearms.
“This shows that these gun control groups aren’t interested in progress, despite how many of them include it in their names,” Mark Oliva, a spokesperson for the NSSF, told The Reload. “They are interested in nothing less than the elimination of the firearm industry, which provides the means for Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights. These are programs that have been cited by the Government Accountability Office and the National Safety Council’s Green Cross Awards for their efficacy.”
He said the letter shows the groups are motivated by politics rather than a desire to prevent crime.
“This letter is a desperate attempt by gun control groups to jam through an agenda which Congress has shown little appetite to swallow,” he said.
Overall, the letter took a less critical tone of the President than has been the case in other recent statements from gun-control advocacy groups. The letter praised Biden’s nomination of David Chipman to head the ATF despite his failure to achieve confirmation. It also commended the President for working to impose new gun restrictions through executive action.
However, the groups maintained that his previous work was not enough and called on President Biden to take immediate action on their list of recommendations.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has a substantial opportunity to take meaningful action to address gun violence without waiting for Congress, and we are asking that you capitalize on this opportunity immediately,” the letter said.