Amnesty International describes Biden’s actions on gun violence as “a resounding victory for all Americans”

Amnesty International USA has described President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s gun control measures announced on Thursday as “a resounding victory for all Americans.”

“Today’s actions from President Biden represent a resounding victory for communities, front-line organizations, gun violence survivors and all Americans. For too long, the way the U.S. government has addressed the issue of gun violence has been negligent at best, and disastrous, at worst,” said Bob Goodfellow, Acting Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. “Gun violence remains one of the primary issues threatening the human rights of communities across this country. These actions are a crucial first step in ensuring that U.S. government agencies are truly prepared to prioritize people over guns. Amnesty International USA applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for this much-needed leadership” 

Speaking at the White House Rose Garden, President Biden announced initial actions addressing red flag laws, ghost guns, and community violence intervention programs.  

The president’s actions follow several recent, high-profile mass shootings, most notably one in Georgia in which a shooter killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, and one in Colorado where 10 people were killed in a supermarket. 

Between those two mass shootings, President Biden said there were 850 other shootings that killed at least 200 people and injured more than 500 others.

Attorney General Merrick Garland, who spoke at the White House as well, said more than 11,000 people have been killed by gun violence in the United States this year alone, or more than 100 people every day.

“This is an epidemic for God’s sake,” the president said, his voice rising and his face covered with anger and frustration, adding that it has to stop.

The president’s actions geared towards reducing gun violence included

  • Increasing available federal funding for community gun violence intervention programs through the American Jobs Plan, Medicaid funding, as well as through agencies such as the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Labor;  
  • A proposed rule from the Department of Justice to help stop the proliferation of ghost guns; 
  • Model red flag legislation for the states from the Department of Justice; 
  • Comprehensive, annual reports from the Department of Justice on the trafficking of firearms; 
  • Having the Department of Justice issue a rule making clear that any stabilizing device effectively turning a pistol into a short-barreled rifle is subject to the requirements of the National Firearm Act; 
  • The nomination of David Chipman to be the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). 

“Today, many Americans will feel genuine hope for the possibility of ending gun violence in the United States,” said Ernest Coverson, the End Gun Violence Campaign Manager at Amnesty International USA. “We welcome President Biden’s renewed efforts to ensure the right to live free from gun violence by funding vital community intervention programs. These actions will save many lives, especially those in Black and brown communities. We stand with the president and urge lawmakers in Congress to work with us to do more to make gun safety a reality for all.”

“It’s been 25 years since the federal government has passed a gun safety law. These actions are in line with the demands of Amnesty International USA, gun safety activists and survivors, especially those who have repeatedly called for more funding for violence interruption programs. Earlier this year, Amnesty International USA submitted a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling on the Senate to pass the Break the Cycle Act, which would support on-the-ground groups working to keep communities safe from gun violence.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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