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US: Biden announces 'Gun Violence Prevention' office

September 23, 2023

US Vice President Kamala Harris will head the new federal office, as she and Biden gear up for the 2024 election. The White House efforts towards gun control are unlikely to be effective without the support of Congress.

President Joe Biden speaks about gun safety on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.
US President Joe Biden President and Vice President Kamala Harris' focus on gun is being seen as a key strategy for reelectionImage: Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo/picture alliance

US President Joe Biden has announced setting up a new office to prevent gun violence, under the leadership of Vice President Kamala Harris, as the pair prepare for next year's presidential race.

The federal office would be dedicated towards finding solutions and supporting communities suffering from shooting incidents. Biden announced it from the White House Rose Garden, alongside lawmakers and families of gun violence victims.

What did Biden and Harris say?

Both Biden and Harris referred to the recurring demand for government to "do something" after every mass shooting.

"My administration has been working relentlessly to do something," Biden said, describing shootings as the "ultimate superstorm."

Harris meanwhile said in a statement announcing the new office that the US is "torn apart" by gun violence, stressing that "we do not have a moment to spare nor a life to spare."

"We know true freedom is not possible if people are not safe," Harris said. 

The vice president, who formerly served as a prosecutor, has said that while gun violence affects all communities, communities of color are often more likely to suffer from it.

US Supreme Court ruling loosens gun control

What can the new office achieve?

The office's launch is unlikely to have a strong impact on the issue of gun violence, as the White House has no unilateral power to limit gun use in a meaningful way.

Any ban on assault weapons would need to come from the Republican-controlled Congress.

Biden's presidential campaign is hoping efforts to enforce gun control could attract younger voters in the 2024 election.

The Associated Press has counted at least 35 mass killings in the US so far this year, killing at least 171 (excluding the shooters), in a database maintained jointly with USA Today and Northeastern University.

rmt/kb (AFP, AP)