White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention More Interested in Political Theater than Actual Prevention

by Vern Evans
Joe Biden Gun Pose
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

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The White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention is hosting the first in-person meeting of federal agencies to figure out what to do after a tragic mass murder and criminal misuse of firearms. The focus will be on what resources can be brought to bear after a shocking crime has been committed that once again rocks the nation’s conscience.

The Biden administration is missing the target, once again, on guns. The focus shouldn’t be on what can the government do after a tragedy occurs. Rather, it should be on what should be done to prevent it.

That answer comes down to two efforts: Enforce the law and hold criminals accountable for their crimes.

Misplaced Priorities

In the list of priorities for the Biden administration’s gun policies, these have fallen far down on the list behind efforts to create a new taxpayer-funded office to install an extremist gun control agenda, craft new laws by executive fiat, criminalize private firearm transfers, halt firearm exports, illegally spy on the private financial records of Americans legally buying firearms and ammunition and continually spinning outright lies that come straight from President Joe Biden himself.

Despite the White House’s insistence on treating criminal violence as a public health issue, crime is still a very real and very lethal problem this administration refuses to confront. Murder rates in most cities are falling off the peaks witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some cities report shocking murder rates. Crime is still rampant.

That remains, in part, because government officials refuse to report it. The Marshall Project has been tracking the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and noted last year that nearly one-third of law enforcement agencies were missing from the FBI’s statistics. That’s not because there wasn’t crime. It’s because they didn’t report crime.

Recognizing crime is the first step to stopping it. How?  By enforcing the law already on the books. That is a hurdle seemingly too high for the Biden administration. The failure starts at the top, with an administration that refuses to enforce immigration laws that have allowed known terrorists to cross into the United States. The Cato Institute reported in February that the U.S. Border Patrol has apprehended 342 illegal border crossers who were on the Terrorist Screening Dataset since 2017. That figure rose to 169 in FY 2023 and 49 this year. That’s just the ones apprehended. How many more slipped across our porous borders undetected?

Crime Problem

The “blind eye” to crime isn’t isolated to the Biden administration. Attorneys general, district attorneys and prosecutors are complicit, too. Washington, D.C., Attorney General Brian Schwalb was forced to walk back comments made to residents when he said the District cannot “prosecute or arrest our way” out of rising crime rates. Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón was excoriated by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for abandoning all murder victims’ families. He defended a diversion program that allowed criminal offenders to still have access to firearms and released a murderer from prison after serving only six years of a 50-year sentence. That prisoner was re-arrested within a week of release on gun and DUI charges.

Two Los Angeles police officers were shot and killed by gang members in 2022 after they were released on downgraded charges by DA Gascón’s office. Those felony firearm charges would have kept them locked up. Because of DA Gascón’s policy of not pursuing gun-related charges, they walked out to murder police officers.

Several high-profile mass murders also showed instances of when laws that are already on the books were not enforced. The tragic shooting in Sutherland Spring, Texas, was carried out by a deranged individual who was convicted in a military court for domestic violence and was later involuntarily committed to a mental health facility before being dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. That individual should have been prohibited from purchasing firearms but because the Air Force didn’t send those disqualifying records to the FBI, he wasn’t listed in the system as prohibited.

Tools Unused

The murderer at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., exhibited a series of instances when school, county, state and federal officials could have intervened, but didn’t. That included threats with a gun against his own mother and warnings reported to the FBI that the murderer wrote, “Im [sic] going to be a professional school shooter.” The FBI admitted it failed.

The murderer in Buffalo, N.Y., was brought in by state police for a mental health evaluation, but never brought before a judge for an adjudication or consideration for involuntary commitment to a mental health facility. Not one New York authority invoked that state’s “red-flag” law to protect the community.

The murderer in Uvalde, Texas, made threats on social media that he intended to murder children at a school a month prior to his heinous crimes and again 10 days prior to when he committed his horrific crimes. He made threats of rape and assault against former classmates and posted disturbing images on social media. None of this was reported to authorities to stop this criminal.

The murderer in Highland Park, Ill., previously had knives confiscated after making threats against his family. The incident was treated as a “mental-health issue.” No follow-up was done to make sure he didn’t have access to firearms.

The murderer at the Covenant School in Nashville was being treated for undisclosed mental health disorders and stockpiled firearms without her parent’s knowledge. That murderer left a manifesto, portions of which were leaked. A federal judge told the FBI that document must be turned over to the court for review. A “show cause” hearing was recently held to determine if the manifesto will be released to the public.

The White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention is failing if it is meeting to plan coordination after a tragedy has happened. The whole point is in its name – prevention. The focus should be on prevention and accountability. The tools, tragically, are already there. The Biden administration is focused on distraction over prevention. It is time for the American people to demand accountability of them.

 

—Article courtesy of the NSSF

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