The White House on Wednesday outlined a list of recommended gun safety measures at the state level, the latest move by the Biden administration to curb gun violence.
Vice President Harris was set to host dozens of state legislators from across the U.S. to launch the Safer States Initiatives, which officials said would give states “additional tools and the support they need to reduce gun violence and save lives.”
The White House released what it called six key actions it believes states should take, including the establishment of an Office of Gun Violence Prevention like the one President Biden created at the federal level in September, reports The Hill.
The White House is urging states to invest in proved gun violence prevention methods, such as red flag laws that allow law enforcement to take weapons from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Other recommendations include increased support for survivors and victims of gun violence, banning assault weapons, strengthening background checks and requiring safe storage of firearms.
“We’ve been meeting with state legislators ever since the start of our office, and one thing we hear all the time is they want to do more to reduce gun violence,” said Stefanie Feldman, head of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
Feldman said many state lawmakers have been looking for guidance on what steps are most effective to reduce gun violence.
The Justice Department rolled out model legislation detailing how states can require the safe storage of firearms. The proposal ims to address one major cause of gun violence — that often students who carry out school shootings are using firearms found at home.
DOJ will also post model legislation to give states a framework for requiring individuals promptly to report the loss or theft of a firearm.
Earlier, more than a thousand law enforcement personnel from across U.S. joined Attorney General Merrick Garland in Indianapolis for a Violent Crime Reduction Summit.
Law enforcement leaders from as far away as Hawaii came to discuss the national rise in violent crime seen during the pandemic, and what reduction strategies are working, reports Fox59 in Indianapolis.
”We can learn from each other and what other cities have done right and bring those things here,” said Indianapolis Assistant Police Chief Chris Bailey.
Garland led a roundtable meeting of local law enforcement to talk about violence reduction. Indianapolis has seen four straight years of more than 200 homicides, but is on track for its second straight year seeing that total decrease.
Bailey said part of the conversation centered around teen violence and access to guns. ”We talked about straw purchasing, we talked about the number of glock switches or conversion devices that we’re seeing,” he said. “There are lots of guns ending up with juveniles in multiple ways.”
At the summit, Garland announced the release of the Violent Crime Reduction Roadmap. It is a collection of strategies from across the country that the Justice Department has seen help reduce violent crime. The roadmap is meant to guide communities to solutions for violence.
DOJ described the roadmap as "a one-stop shop to assist local jurisdictions in developing, implementing, and evaluating strategies to prevent, intervene in, and respond to violent crime. The Roadmap helps connect jurisdictions with the information and resources they need to meet the complex and evolving challenges to help reduce violent crime."
“We have spent two and a half years using every available resource to combat the violent crime spike we saw during the pandemic, and this is a guide to the programs and strategies that we have seen work,” said Garland. “But this is not a time to relax our efforts. We know that the only way to replicate what is working and to bring violent crime down in every community is by learning from each other and by investing in our partnerships.”
The dozens of Justice Department resources available from the Roadmap are organized around actions outlined in Saving Lives: Ten Essential Actions Cities Can Take to Reduce Violence Now, developed by the Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan think tank.
The Police Executive Research Forum, funded by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, will provide local jurisdictions with tailored training and technical assistance on how to implement the 10 essential actions and utilize the Justice Department’s resources identified in the Roadmap, to reduce violent crime while building community trust.