Reps. Joe Neguse and Lucy McBath’s are calling on Joe Biden to appoint a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention and an Interagency Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention.
February 26, 2021
Honorable Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
Dear President Biden, We write today to request that you appoint a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention and empower this newly appointed official to create and chair an Interagency Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention. In the face of persistent and growing gun violence across our nation, appointing a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention to communicate and coordinate across federal agencies, and empowering them to create an Interagency Task Force to implement a comprehensive government approach to address this violence, will help bring our nation out from under the depths of the gun violence crisis.
Every year, nearly 40,000 people are killed with guns in our nation and another 76,000 are injured, with disproportionate shares of this violence falling on communities of color. In 2020 alone, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, at least 43,561 people needlessly lost their lives due to gun violence, a 10% increase from 2019. 1 As gun ownership soars to record levels2, we fear that this violence will only continue to grow.
Currently, federal efforts to combat gun violence, including research on the impacts and causes of gun violence and law enforcement efforts to combat it, are siloed across agencies. Appointing a National Director of Gun Violence to promote coordination of federal agencies will ensure these agencies are working collaboratively, including via the dissemination of critical data and coordination of shared goals, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We ask that this Director work with — and directly report —to you and set forth the goal of reducing firearms deaths and injuries by at least 50% over the next ten years.
We also respectfully request that your National Director of Gun Violence Prevention be empowered to create and chair an Interagency Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention. This Task Force should formally bring together stakeholders in gun violence research and prevention – for instance the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services – to educate Americans on gun violence prevention tactics, and engage with community organizations, healthcare providers, Members of Congress and others who work to address the intersectional dimensions of gun violence. The creation of this Task Force will signal the importance of this issue to our nation and further a comprehensive government approach to addressing it.
We applaud each of the commitments you have made to combatting gun violence and ask that you give strong and immediate consideration to appointing a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention who could create and chair an Interagency Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention. We look forward to partnering with you in this work, and greatly appreciate your consideration of these requests.