Gun violence prevention advocates hoped that the Biden presidency would make progress on gun control. Instead, as his first year in office draws to an close, they are disappointed, The Hill reports. Advocates say Biden’s response to the Michigan school shooting, when a sophomore opened fire and killed four students, fell short, and they are disheartened that David Chipman, the administration’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) withdrew. Like his predecessors, Biden has issued executive orders on gun violence prevention while legislation to expand background checks has failed in the Senate.
“The president has been a friend to the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement this year and we’re thankful, but frankly, he hasn’t really been a leader,” said Zeenat Yahya of March for Our Lives.
Advocates wanted Biden to apply more pressure on Congress to move on gun violence, where a 50-50 Senate evenly divided between the parties is a major impediment. Activists acknowledge the political roadblocks, but express disappointment nonetheless. "What we need more than anything right now is a comprehensive strategy to deal with this reality, what is the plan?” said Peter Ambler of Giffords, the gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ.), who was wounded in a shooting. “Do I think they’ve done the most of any administration? It’s not enough,” said Fred Guttenberg of Brady PAC and father of a victim in the 2018 Parkland, Fl., school shooting. Stef Feldman, a White House domestic policy adviser , said, “a comprehensive strategy is exactly what we have done in 2021 and we will continue to execute on it in the new year.” She said their strategy includes multiple agencies and addresses mass shootings, suicide, community violence, domestic violence, accidental shootings and family shootings, as well as the demand side of guns and holding dealers accountable.