President Biden unveiled a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention in September, the first-ever White House office dedicated to the issue. The office’s new deputy director, Rob Wilcox, is a longtime gun safety advocate and a survivor of gun violence. Not soon after the office opened, it had to respond to its first mass shooting, in Lewiston, Me. then another in Chicago. There have been 630 mass shootings this year. “The gun violence that is happening is unacceptable,” Wilcox told Politico Magazine. “The truth is that we have a lot of ground to make up.” He also made the case that the federal government is building new systems right now that might actually stem the bloodshed.
Through the office, Wilcox said the president gave him and his team four tasks: “The first is to expedite the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the previous executive actions. The second is to identify new executive actions that we can take to reduce gun violence. A third is to expand the coalition of partners that we work with to get more state and local action. And then the fourth is to improve the support for our communities and individuals impacted by gun violence." His colleague, Greg Jackson, had been working on the first “whole-of-government response to gun violence” when the Lewiston shooting occurred, leading to what Wilcox called “the largest federal response ever to an act of gun violence.” Wilcox is optimistic that the U.S. can take on the growing crisis, citing survivors, students and young people leading the way.