On Wednesday, the White House released a memo calling on congressional Republicans to release a budget and determine their values regarding gun policy. The memo specifically addressed the issue of assault weapons, asking whether Republicans would join President Biden in banning them or continue to refuse, leaving police “outgunned” on the streets. While it is unlikely that Republicans will reverse their stance on gun policy, as they have resisted previous efforts to reinstate a law that expired in 2004, the memo’s release reflects the administration’s continued push for stricter gun laws.
The memo comes amid a surge of gun violence in the United States, with at least 110 mass shootings having occurred so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. However, the House Freedom Caucus, which includes some of the most conservative elements of the GOP, recently released a budget proposal that is unlikely to be considered in the Senate, even if it is passed by the House. The proposal calls for ending the “unconstitutional” federal guideline that requires gun owners to register stabilizing devices known as “pistol braces” with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by May.
Stabilizing braces have been used in mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and Boulder, Colorado, and the Freedom Caucus budget has been criticized for sending “deeply concerning signals” regarding gun policy. The National Rifle Association and attorneys general from 25 states are suing the Biden administration to overturn the rule.
A Gallup poll from February showed that 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with U.S. gun laws, with only 34% saying they are satisfied with federal firearm policy, a record low for the survey. The memo from the White House emphasizes that the American people support President Biden’s efforts to reduce gun crime and will not accept further siding with the gun lobby over national efforts to stop it.