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Amid Criticism, White House Touts Team Working on Gun Violence

In response to mounting criticism that President Biden has abandoned the cause of reducing gun violence, the White House is providing details about the team responsible for that policy. The administration is expected to issue a fact sheet in an effort to reassure allies that violence prevention is a priority, The Trace reports. The document doubles down on what the administration calls Biden’s “comprehensive gun crime reduction strategy.” It does not include new policy proposals or executive actions, nor an announcement of a new nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “The solutions to gun violence are interdisciplinary,” wrote Stefanie Feldman, a senior adviser to the Domestic Policy Council. She said the council has organized a 12-person team to drive a gun violence reduction agenda.

It includes Chiraag Bains, an assistant to the president for racial justice and equity; Vanessa Chen, a special assistant for criminal justice and guns; and Erin Murphy, a senior policy adviser for criminal justice. The team operates under Susan Rice, the head of the Domestic Policy Council. Some groups focused on gun reform, like March for Our Lives and Guns Down America, have long expressed their disappointment in Biden’s lack of action. They have criticized him for not using his executive authority to its fullest extent and for failing to make legislative progress, despite his campaign promises. White House staff members have been meeting with representatives from gun reform groups. One meeting was with advocates from March for Our Lives. On March 24, activists with the group — led largely by survivors of the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Fl.,— placed 1,100 body bags on the National Mall, each representing 154 gun deaths. They add up to 170,000 lives lost to gun violence since 2018. The body bags spelled out “thoughts and prayers.” Earlier in March, Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and separately Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, said it’s time to “see more urgency” from Biden, including creating a violence prevention office.


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