President Joe Biden will announce the establishment of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, the first of its kind on Friday, the White House said. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 21 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden will announce the establishment of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, the first of its kind, on Friday, the White House said in a statement.
Vice President Kamala Harris has been tapped to lead the office, the White House said in its statement. Harris was praised as a "key leader" in the administration's effort to end the gun violence epidemic.
Stefanie Feldman, a longtime Biden policy advisor on gun violence prevention, will serve as the director of the new office alongside leading gun violence prevention advocates Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox, who will report to her as deputy directors. Jackson and Wilcox are new to the administration.
The new office will "focus on implementing executive and legislative action" to address gun violence in America.
"Every time I've met with families impacted by gun violence as they mourn their loved ones, and I've met with so many throughout the country, they all have the same message for their elected officials: 'do something,'" Biden said in the statement.
The president added that he will continue to urge Congress to "take commonsense actions that the majority of Americans support like enacting universal background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines."
"But in the absence of that sorely needed action, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention along with the rest of my administration will continue to do everything it can to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our families, our communities, and our country apart," Biden said.
Democratic lawmakers and gun control advocates have been pushing Biden to establish the office to allow for greater coordination across the federal government to address such issues and to show strong leadership.
The office will be funded through the White House budget that has already been appropriated, The Hill reported.
"Every person and every child deserves the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and live up to their God-given potential," Harris said in a statement.
"Every family, in every community, should have the freedom to live and to thrive. We know true freedom is not possible if people are not safe. This epidemic of gun violence requires urgent leadership to end the fear and trauma that Americans experience every day."