While we’re encouraged that the President is urging a step forward with immediate congressional funding for community violence intervention, we’re disappointed that he took a step back by leaning on tired, failed policing solutions to the public health crisis of gun violence
Washington, D.C. — It is deeply disappointing that the President has once again squandered an opportunity to announce immediate, urgent action on the public health crisis of gun violence, including a cabinet-level position to coordinate the Administration’s efforts. Today’s State of the Union was a marquee opportunity to announce a reset on his administration’s approach to gun violence, and treat the epidemic like the emergency that he says it is. Once again, he failed to do so.
The President’s proposal for community violence intervention funding is welcome but is simply one piece of the puzzle. Advocates and survivors urged him to appoint a cabinet-level Director to marshall a whole-of-government response, to declare a national emergency, and to put in action a comprehensive plan like the one he proposed on the campaign trail. On these counts, he has failed us, and failed to protect our right not to be shot.
Since the President last spoke before the Joint Session of Congress last year, nearly 50,000 Americans have died to guns. The President promised swift action on this life-or-death issue. Yet, in many ways, his address today was the only move so far to lobby congress for action and makes clear the need for a new, comprehensive response to the gun violence crisis. The world is in turmoil, and so are the Americans who suffer under the weight of America’s unique gun violence epidemic. Advocates have, frankly, been disappointed by the President’s first year in office, and we worry that this next year will prove no different.