Gun-control advocacy groups are making their displeasure with the President known as the federal stalemate on gun policy continues.
Shortly after President Biden’s remarks on the anniversary of the 2018 Parkland shooting on Monday, a coalition of advocacy groups put out a public release criticizing the President’s performance on gun policy thus far. March for Our Lives, Guns Down America, and Change the Ref demanded the President take further unilateral action on guns.
“47,611 gun deaths into the Biden Administration, we’re urging all Americans to visit ShockMarket.org and demand that the president take the urgent executive actions he’s promised survivors in order to reduce gun violence,” the release said. “So far, he has failed to deliver the plan that the country needs.”
The release underscores the growing sense of frustration among gun control advocates as the President’s ambitious agenda for stricter gun laws has largely faltered. Biden promised to prioritize strict new gun laws and released an extensive plan of preferred policies he would enact as a candidate. But now, more than a year into his Presidency, he has seen the defeat of his preferred nominee to head the ATF, the continual drop in his approval over his performance on gun policy, and a Congress unwilling to move his policies to his desk.
President Biden has sidestepped Congress on several actions which are still making their way through the federal bureaucracy. Those actions include proposals to greatly expand the ATF’s power to determine what constitutes a firearm in an attempt to go after “ghost gun” kit makers and re-classifying guns equipped with popular pistol braces as items that need to be destroyed or registered with the ATF under the National Firearms Act. Those actions could impact millions of gun owners if they are implemented without significant changes–something that could happen as early as this summer.
In his Monday remarks commemorating the four-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Biden again called on Congress to do more to address gun violence. He said he has directed Congress to increase funding for community violence intervention measures and federal law enforcement agencies like the ATF and the U.S. Marshals. He also requested legislative action expanding background checks to private sales as well as sales bans on certain guns and ammo magazines.
“Congress must do much more — beginning with requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers,” he said.
The gun-control groups want the president to do more on his own, including taking unprecedented action.
“With the stroke of a pen, President Biden can create an Office of Gun Violence Prevention and appoint a cabinet-level director to lead these efforts,” the groups said.
Creating such an office would allow the federal government to consolidate resources dedicated to addressing gun crime, advocates argue. That could provide greater oversight on the issue, they say. It’s an approach that has already been taken by some individual states.
March For Our Lives, a gun control group founded by the survivors of the Parkland shooting, has been a major proponent of creating an office and appointing a director of gun violence prevention. The group is spearheading the pressure campaign to get the President to act and even set a deadline for when they would like to see results.
“He must announce a comprehensive plan at the State of the Union to save lives,” the group said.
The Biden administration did not respond to a request for comment.