The recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., have reignited calls for gun control laws at the federal level. President Biden has said there is little he can do without the help of Congress. “I can’t dictate this stuff,” he said, demanding that lawmakers work together to take action on stronger gun measures. On Sunday, a bipartisan group of senators announced a legislative framework on gun safety measures that has yet to be written and needs to pass the House of Representatives before it gets to Biden’s desk for signing. Kris Brown, president of Brady United, a nonprofit organization that advocates for stricter gun control, told Yahoo News there are actions President Biden can take if Congress ultimately fails to pass new legislation.
JOE BIDEN: There's a Constitution. I can't dictate this stuff. I can do the things I've done, and any executive action I can take, I'll continue to take. But I can't outlaw a weapon. I can't change the background checks.
KRIS BROWN: President Biden is not new to this issue, very sadly. No American is. But certainly, as someone who was a leader in the Senate when the Brady law was enacted, helped ensure that the assault weapons ban that sadly was sunsetted, but passed Congress in 1994, he was chief architect of making that happen. And he was vice president to President Obama when Sandy Hook happened and galvanized an entire workforce that focused on executive actions that could be taken by President Obama. Sadly, not all of those were put forward, but he Well knows their role of the executive branch. And we applaud the things he's done already, as well as Congress.
Congress on the Senate side is looking at what they could potentially come together on in some sort of bipartisan package.
CHRIS MURPHY: A bipartisan compromise on guns was possible, despite 28 years of evidence to the contrary. The bill in and of itself is going to save thousands of lives. I have no doubt about that between helping states adopt red flag laws, closing the boyfriend loophole, requiring more rigorous check before young buyers can purchase weapons, and creating new tools for law enforcement to go after gun trafficking rings.
KRIS BROWN: It is part of their duty. And they should be voting on a package to protect our children, to protect our communities, and to make people feel safe in the public square. And I can tell you, right now, a lot of Americans don't.
- And I'm confident that we're going to be able to get this passed through the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, get it to the president's desk.
KRIS BROWN: There is more he can do if Congress fails to act. We lose about 45,000 Americans a year to gun violence, and gun violence now is the number one killer of children in this country, more than automobile accidents, more than poisonings, more than unintentional injuries from any other cause. So it's right to declare it a public health epidemic, and what that does, it frees up funding. And it provides a coordinated approach through federal agencies to really tackle this comprehensively.
He can issue executive actions that really define what it is to be in the business of selling guns, and basically, require anyone who sells more than five guns to be declared a gun dealer. That's very important, because right now, one in five guns sold today is sold with no background check at all. So the administration can do a lot to really crack down on that.
We'd prefer Congress to act, but we want him to take action to bolster those efforts. We also want an office of gun violence prevention out of the White House. The reason for that is, while we applaud and appreciate everything that the Office of Domestic Policy led by Susan Rice, who currently really handles the administration efforts on gun violence prevention, this crisis, this epidemic deserves a coordinated approach and a coordinated office whose full time job is understanding all of the levers that must be put in place to save children's lives in this country. It's that important, and we need to put that muscle behind it.
The fourth is that we need Department of Justice to really comprehensively crack down on the suppliers of crime guns in the United States and start increasing prosecution of those who are putting the guns on the criminal market. We have had very little prosecution, until President Biden took office, but we need even more of a focus by US attorneys across this country to crack down on the criminal market. Because that is driving homicide increases all across this country.