In a letter dated Jan. 31 and headed with #TheTimeIsNow, a large coalition of gun control advocates presented an itemized list of what they want President Joe Biden to talk about during his State of the Union Address.
To put it mildly, they want a lot.
“Dear President Biden,” the letter reads, “During your first two years in office, you signed into law historic bipartisan gun violence reduction legislation, secured the confirmation of a permanent director to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), directed funding for evidence-based community violence prevention and intervention programs, put forward a plan for tackling rising firearm homicides, and issued multiple executive actions aimed at addressing this public health epidemic.
“We applaud you for prioritizing the national crisis of gun violence.”
However, they don’t seem to feel that it’s enough.
“While Congress must continue to prioritize gun violence prevention, you have the opportunity to act boldly by announcing a comprehensive plan of action to reduce gun deaths at the State of the Union on February 7, 2023,” the letter said.
The list is as follows, and is a direct quote:
- Declaring a national emergency around the epidemic of gun violence and establishing a federal office of gun violence prevention and appoint a full-time director to streamline the federal, state, and local government’s efforts to save lives.
- Calling on Congress to commit $5 billion in funding for community violence intervention programs that help disrupt cycles of interpersonal gun violence, encourage states to apply for and increase available funding for community violence prevention, and incentivize states and cities to establish offices of gun violence prevention.
- Announcing a series of executive actions to reduce gun deaths, including fully enforcing the ban on importation of foreign-made assault weapons that do not have a “sporting purpose” and instructing the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate regulations that prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices related to the advertising or marketing of firearms to minors.
- Using the office and power of the President to communicate the scope of this crisis with the American people and develop honest, educational, and culturally relevant public campaigns that focus on the inherent risks of keeping firearms in the home, especially around child access and suicide.
- Outlining a detailed plan to fully implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, including ensuring funding for violence intervention is directed to communities most impacted by violence and youth-focused violence prevention programs in schools, training NICS investigators to properly conduct background checks on gun buyers under age 21, addressing the background check loophole by clarifying who is considered “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, and using the new firearms trafficking statute to target the largest sources of crime guns.
Biden is almost certain to make a reference to the state of the Second Amendment in the United States tonight — it’ll be interesting to see which, if any, of these make national headlines.