In a letter to Biden first obtained by POLITICO, the [gun control] groups are heating up the pressure campaign ahead of the president’s State of the Union address next week. The coalition of 117 organizations also called for a series of executive actions and for the White House to detail how it plans to implement the historic gun legislation the president signed into law last year.
“For a president who ran on one of the most comprehensive gun violence prevention strategies in probably American history, who has repeatedly said that he will do everything in his power to help solve this crisis, he’s simply left too many solutions on the table,” said Igor Volsky, executive director of Guns Down America, one of the main co-signers. “He has a real obligation to live up to his promises and live up to his word and do everything and anything he can to make progress.”
The letter by the coalition — also led by Brady United, Community Justice Action Fund, March for Our Lives and Newtown Action Alliance — illustrates the breadth of the issues the president will be pushed to tackle during this year’s State of the Union, a speech that comes at the halfway point of his first term. It also underscores the degree to which progressive-leaning institutions aren’t simply content to let Biden rest on his accomplishments as he begins gearing up for a likely reelection bid.
The coalition’s latest effort comes amid a flurry of mass shootings. But it is also reminiscent of the early days of Biden’s presidency, when many of the same groups wrote the president a letter outlining executive actions they sought, frustrated he hadn’t come out as aggressively as he promised on the campaign trail.
“Now two years later, we’re circulating another letter,” said Po Murray, chair of the Newtown Action Alliance. “We want Biden to address this and tell the world what his plan is to tackle this issue.” …
But Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords, which sent its own, separate memo to the White House on Monday, said the narrow focus on the [‘assault weapons’] ban reduces the need to talk about other weighty issues like background check loopholes and the need for investment in community violence intervention.
“Because when you just say assault weapons, honestly, you just think about mass shootings But gun safety solutions are also critical to combatting crime, intervening in cycles of community violence, addressing suicide, and more,” Ambler said. Along similar lines, the coalition’s letter asked the president to use his office “to communicate the scope of this crisis.”