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Biden’s New Office of Gun Violence Prevention Will Do Nothing to Save Lives

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

President Joe Biden is forming an Office of Gun Violence Prevention, ostensibly to curb gun-related violence and mass shootings across the country. The move comes as his administration has been unable to get Congress to pass his radical anti-gun agenda. Advocates might argue that this step will help to save lives, but in reality, it is far more likely that it will be a “feel-good” measure that doesn’t actually address the problem.

The announcement comes amid heightened crime rates in major cities, and a sharp increase in gun sales as a result.

It follows an extreme action taken by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who issued a ban on the carrying of firearms in Albuquerque. The White House’s move suggests that the president is seeking every avenue through which he could curtail gun ownership without legislation.

President Biden on Friday will announce the creation of a new office for gun violence prevention, an escalation of the administration’s efforts to tackle the issue amid stalled progress in Congress, according to four people briefed on the action who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that were not yet public.

Biden and Vice President Harris are scheduled to announce the new office at an event in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon, the people said.

Greg Jackson, a gun violence survivor who is the executive director of 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 office, the people said.

This initiative comes in response to several anti-gunner activist groups who have been pressuring the White House to take on a more intrusive role in preventing gun violence. However, the reality is that crime falls mostly under the purview of state and local governments, meaning that this new agency will add another bureaucratic layer that would only further expand the size and scope of the federal government without offering any real solutions.

The formation of this office is part of other steps the Biden administration has taken to limit gun ownership in the absence of sweeping gun control laws enacted by Congress. The makeup of the legislature has made it quite difficult for Biden to impose his anti-gun agenda. However, it did manage to pass a gun control law in 2022 in the wake of several mass shootings. Still, the bipartisan group’s legislation did not come close to what Democrats wanted.

Under the Biden administration, the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (AFT) has taken several actions to impede gun ownership. The agency implemented a rule requiring owners of AR-15-style pistols to register their firearms.

The new regulations require owners to pay a $200 tax and submit fingerprints. In an attempt to encourage registration, the ATF temporarily waived the tax until May 31. However, the majority of owners have chosen to take their chances, hoping that the courts will overturn the ATF and Biden’s decision, just as they did with the ban on “bump stocks” during the Trump era.

Under the Biden administration, the ATF has also stripped the licenses of hundreds of licensed firearm dealers over small clerical errors.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has revoked the licenses of 122 gun dealers in the current fiscal year. In the previous fiscal year, the figure was 90, and in 2021 it was only 27.

Moreover, since records of revocations began in 2013, the ATF never revoked more than 81 dealers' licenses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Prior to Gun-Grabbin' Joe riding into town, the ATF mainly issued warnings to firearms dealers for legal violations, in part because "they are a valuable source of tips on suspicious gun buyers."

The reality is that this new office will be about as effective at curbing gun violence as fighting a grizzly bear with a toothpick. Gun-related violence is typically not the result of a lack of laws; it is a symptom of deeper societal problems like poverty, lack of education, mental health struggles, and more. The notion that curtailing gun ownership instead of addressing these underlying issue will somehow save lives is ludicrous.

Of course, the real reason why Biden is creating an Office of Gun Violence Prevention is because he wants to appease his critics. The White House has failed to get legislation limiting gun ownership, and it has done little to address violence. Forming this agency is just a way for Biden to say “See? I’m doing something.”

Unfortunately, this office will likely become more adept at violating our rights than actually solving a problem.

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