WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 23, 2023 — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced plans this week for the first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention during the Congressional Black Caucus annual convention. Harris, who has been a key leader in the Biden-Harris administration’s effort to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic, will oversee the new office.
News of the new Office of Gun Violence Prevention was met with fervor by state Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield), chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Michigan Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus. “The nation saw our grief and pain as Michiganders faced the aftermath of mass shootings. That pain became our purpose to get down to business and pass legislation that is tough and smart to reform our gun laws,” Brabec said. “We’ve been working strategically as a bipartisan caucus across both chambers to address the gun violence crisis, and we’re not done yet. Michigan will continue to lead and play a critical role in stopping the gun crisis in our nation.”
More Michigan legislators responded with the following statements:
“The statistics for deaths related to domestic violence are horrifying. One in five women in Michigan who die due to homicide are killed by guns at the hands of their abusers, according to data from the FBI. We’re taking the smart approach to reforming our gun laws in Michigan. Survivors of domestic violence — and the community at large, for that matter — deserve protection and the peace of mind knowing domestic abusers will not have access to guns in Michigan. Democrats are on the case, passing smart legislation that takes direct action to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said state Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw).
Democrats passed $10 million in the budget specifically for Detroit’s efforts for community violence intervention (CVI).
“It only makes sense to put the resources into the hands of those grassroots leaders and activists who’ve been doing the work to make our communities safer. The announcement from the Biden-Harris administration for the new Office for Gun Violence Prevention will hopefully bring about more funding to keep advancing the efforts to intervene and stop the violence. We’ve heard time and time again that these individuals and organizations need the funding to take their efforts to the next levels to action against gun violence in the communities. This is a moment of validation for those doing the CVI work — we see you, we need you and we support you,” said state Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit).
One of the aims for the Biden-Harris Office of Gun Violence Prevention is to provide more support for survivors.
“I know firsthand the devastation that gun violence brings to an individual and their families and our communities. The fight to make Michigan safer for all of us is deeply personal for me,” said state Rep. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit). “The announcement from the Biden-Harris administration will put the nation on the same page at the same time to get this under control. It’s a call to action today for lawmakers to move the agenda for safer communities even further.”
“This announcement gives me hope. The new office will hopefully facilitate more needed dialogue among lawmakers across the nation to seek community-led ideas and best practices across our nation to end gun violence. Tackling this issue together as a nation is a necessary and bold step. We’ve got to stay the course to make folks safer in their communities,” said state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac).
Joining the Biden-Harris team for the new office is Stefanie Feldman, a long-time policy advisor to President Biden on gun violence prevention, who will serve as Director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, alongside leading gun violence prevention advocates Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox, who will join the Administration as Deputy Directors of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
Since gaining majority this year, Michigan lawmakers have passed legislation, which has since been signed into law, to prevent gun violence — reforms include:
- Universal background checks on all gun sales.
- Safe and secure storage laws.
- Extreme risk protection orders.
Upcoming legislation to make Michigan’s neighborhoods safer will be heard in committee soon. The bills sponsored by O’Neal and state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) will put a safeguard in place to help better protect survivors of domestic violence. The legislation prohibits access to guns for convicted abusers and those with an order of personal protection against them.