President Biden on Friday will announce creation of an office for gun violence prevention, an escalation of the administration’s efforts to tackle the issue amid stalled progress in Congress, reports the Washington Post. Biden and Vice President Harris are scheduled to announce the new office at an event in the White House Rose Gardenn. Greg Jackson, a gun violence survivor who directs the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox, the senior director for federal government affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety, are expected to have key roles in the officed. The new office will report through Stefanie Feldman, White House staff secretary and a longtime Biden policy aide who has worked on the firearms issue for years. Feldman has worked on the Domestic Policy Council and still oversees the gun policy portfolio at the White House.
Since Biden was elected, gun violence prevention groups have pressed the White House to create such an office, arguing that it would help coordinate efforts across the federal government to reduce gun violence. Activists say this type of office would also allow the White House to exert more leadership on the issue. “If this announcement is, in fact, the creation of a single point of leadership on gun violence in the administration, it’s a very big deal for the movement,” said Shannon Watts, founder Moms Demand Action, a group working to stop gun violence. So far in 2023, there have been 504 mass shootings in the U.S., says the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are killed or injured. The new office comes as Biden’s reelection campaign ramps up and amid frustration from many activists that the president has been unable to break through Congress’s resistance to new gun-control laws.