CHICAGO — President Joe Biden announced a first of it’s kind initiative Friday. The announcement was centered around addressing gun violence in American cities, and Chicago political figures — along with some of the City’s youngest leaders in the movement to combat it — were on-hand to see the initiative unveiled.
“Created by executive order, I intend to send a clear message about how important this issue is to me and to the country,” Biden said during a ceremony at the White House’s Rose Garden Friday.
Biden’s executive order launched the first ever ‘White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention,’ which is set to be headed by Vice President Kamala Harris. The mission of the new office will be to coordinate efforts across the federal government and to offer help and guidance to states struggling with increasing gun violence.
The office’ establishment comes a little more than a year after Biden signed the bi-partisan ‘Safer Communities Act’ into law, representing the most sweeping gun violence legislation passed in decades.
“It’s a false choice to suggest you have to choose between supporting the second amendment and passing reasonable gun safety laws,” Harris said. “That is a false choice.”
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle were in attendance of the ceremony, but Trevon Bosley, another attendee from Chicago at the White House’s Rose Garden Friday, has first hand experience with America’s gun violence epidemic from a young age.
In April 2006, Trevon’s older brother, Terrell Bosley, was shot and killed while helping a friend take drums into a church. Not long after his brother’s murder, Trevon got involved in the gun violence prevention movement — volunteering with the March For Our Lives organization and Saint Sabina Catholic Church’s Brave Youth Leaders.
“It’s just so important that gun violence is finally being put on the forefront of the nation’s conscience,” Bosley said.
According to the Associated Press, firearms are the no. 1 killer of children in the United States. So far this year, more than 200 children younger than 11 have died from gun violence, and more than 1,000 between the ages of 12 and 17 have died as well.
“Being in Chicago, we have members of Brave [Youth Leaders] that have been killed. We have family members that have been killed,” Bosley said. “You’re just constantly in that environment and you just wonder is the work actually working … and to see some types of fruits to our labor is something so beautiful to see.”
While supporters of the office’s establishment say it will help save thousands of lives, opponents of the office and the bi-partisan legislation passed before it believe the office will tread on lawful gun owner’s rights and do more harm than good.
“President Biden’s announcement that he is establishing the first of its kind White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention is a declaration of war against the 2nd amendment, and sets in motion — using federal resources, an office that will be used to target law-abiding citizens and to promote unconstitutional assault weapons ban legislation that will convert many legal firearms into illegal firearms in an effort to criminalize a citizen’s lawful right to bear arms.”Illinois State Rifle Association