WASHINGTON (AP) — Gun safety groups are joining together to endorse President Joe Biden for reelection in 2024 as the president continues to push for stricter gun laws — a major part of his political platform that was all but unthinkable for Democrats even a few years ago.
The endorsements, revealed to The Associated Press on Wednesday, represent the first time the groups have jointly announced support for a presidential candidate. They come as gun violence is on the rise in the U.S.
The groups endorsing the president include: Brady Campaign, Team Enough, Community Justice Action Fund, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, and Giffords.
The groups say the track record of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris shows they are committed to common-sense reforms that will help end gun violence.
“The Biden-Harris administration’s approach, from addressing the root causes of violence to supporting legislation that prioritizes the lives and well-being of our most vulnerable populations, recognizes that this complex issue requires a comprehensive solution that accounts for the underlying social, economic, and systemic factors contributing to this crisis,” said Greg Jackson, executive director of Community Justice Action Fund
Just over half of voters want to see nationwide gun policy made more strict, according to AP VoteCast, an extensive survey of more than 94,000 voters nationwide conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. About 3 in 10 want gun policy kept as is. Only 14% prefer looser gun laws.
But there are clear partisan divides. About 9 in 10 Democrats want stricter gun laws, compared with about 3 in 10 Republicans. About half of Republicans want gun laws left as they are and only one-quarter want to see gun laws be made less strict.
Biden’s rhetoric has grown ever stronger around guns. He routinely calls for banning so-called assault weapons, a political term to describe guns most often used in mass shootings with the capacity to kill a lot of people quickly.
His major achievement came last year, when Congress passed the most comprehensive gun reform law in 30 years, shortly after the mass killing of 19 elementary school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
The law toughened background checks for the youngest gun buyers, sought to keep firearms from domestic violence offenders and aimed to help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier to take weapons away from people judged to be dangerous.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris’s unflinching commitment to ending gun violence has been evident from Day One,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. Since that bill signing last summer, the tally of mass shootings in the United States has only grown. As of Monday, there have been at least 32 mass killings in the U.S. so far in 2023, leaving at least 139 people dead, not including shooters who died, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.
That puts the country on a faster pace for mass killings than in any other year since 2006, according to the database, which defines a mass killing as one in which four or more people are killed, not including the perpetrator, within a 24-hour period.
Firearms are the No. 1 killer of children in the U.S., and so far this year 178 children younger than 11 have died by guns and 904 between the ages of 12 and 17 have died. As of 2020, the firearm mortality rate for those under age 19 is 5.6 per 100,000. The next comparable is Canada, with 0.08 deaths per 100,000.
“The work is far from over, as MAGA Republicans in Congress continue to side with the NRA and stonewall common sense legislation that would save American lives. Americans deserve and need leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who will pull every lever available to enable Americans no matter their zip code, race, or gender to live freely without the fear of gun violence and to save American lives,” said Julie Chavez Rodriguez, campaign manager for the Biden campaign. “The President and Vice President are humbled to earn today’s historic and unified endorsement from some of the country’s leading gun violence prevention groups.”
Seung Min Kim And Colleen Long, The Associated Press