In a statement released on Sunday, the 3rd anniversary of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, President Biden called on Congress to: “…enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our street.”
This is not the first time President Biden has voiced his support for stricter gun reform. During his time as a senator, Biden was instrumental in the passage of both the Brady Bill in 1993, which implemented the background check system, and the original assault weapons ban. Although efforts to enact stronger gun reform laws during his tenure as vice president were not successful, Biden pledged to end the gun violence epidemic during his presidential campaign.
Now that he is in office, his administration is getting to work on addressing the leading cause of premature death in the U.S. Last week, it was reported that White House officials, Susan Rice, head of the Domestic Policy Council and Cedric Richmond, senior advisor to President Biden, met with gun control groups and advocates, such as Giffords, Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Moms Demand Action, to discuss the different avenues that the administration can take to address the epidemic. Some of the avenues discussed included executive action. According to The Hill, President Biden could use executive orders to “change or expand the definition of who is in the business of selling guns, prioritize funding for community violence prevention programs and eliminate “ghost guns” by defining what constitutes a gun.” The push for Congress to support gun reform legislation will also be necessary as the Senate requires at least 60 votes to overcome the legislative filibuster, 10 of which would have to come from Republican senators. But, some Democrats, such as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, remain hopeful that Congress will be able enact “life-saving” bills and it is only a matter of time before gun control advocates in Congress also begin to introduce gun reform legislation.
Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom.
The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.
- Writing: According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), there were 417 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2019. Explain why, despite the increase in these shootings over the years, gun reform has been difficult to achieve.
- Debate: According to a November 2020 Gallup poll, support for stricter gun laws in the U.S. is at its lowest level since 2016. Do you believe that the public will be supportive of gun reform now that President Biden is in office?
- Poll: President Biden should use executive action to implement gun reform legislation rather than wait to see if Congress will do their part. (Agree or Disagree).
- Short Answer: Discuss the different provisions associated with President Biden’s plan to end the gun violence epidemic.
Cover Image: © iStockphoto.com/YingYang