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Major gun safety groups come together to endorse Biden for 2024 election

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s top gun safety groups are coming together to back President Joe Biden in 2024, an early endorsement that underscores Biden’s sway over major Democratic coalitions as the party seizes the gun policy as a politically advantageous issue before his re-election campaign.

The endorsement represented the first time the groups jointly announced their support for a presidential candidate. Groups include Brady and his youth-led arm, Team Enough; Community Justice Action Fund; Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and its local networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action; and Gifford.

It also follows similar joint endorsements from abortion rights groups, labor unions and climate organizations — a strategy intended to demonstrate Biden’s strength among the party’s various constituencies as he faces nominal primary challengers and the skepticism of many Democratic voters about whether he should seek a second term.

In their endorsement, the groups pointed to the Biden administration’s record of establishing policies to reduce gun violence — including a bipartisan law passed last year that marked the most comprehensive effort to curb the access to firearms in three decades.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris lead the strongest gun-toting administration in American history, a title they earned by doing everything in their power to protect our families and our communities,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. .

WATCH: Most young Americans feel unsafe and support tougher gun laws, new survey finds

In total, the groups represent 15 million members. The endorsement also comes as Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at an Everytown event in Chicago on Friday.

Officials said the approval allows them to draw an early and frequent contrast to Republican presidential hopefuls who seek to ease gun laws at a time when gun violence is on the rise in the United States, while engaging voters critical to Biden’s re-election strategy, such as as suburban women, voters of color, and younger voters.

Biden’s rhetoric has grown louder around guns, including regularly calling for a ban on so-called assault weapons, a political term to describe firearms most often used in mass shootings with the ability to quickly kill a lot of people. And he’s pushing a gun-restricting platform that was anything but politically unthinkable for Democrats as recently as Barack Obama’s tenure.

“We’ve taken the politics of yesteryear and turned it on its head,” said Giffords chief executive Peter Ambler. “It is now a scarlet letter, not a badge of honor, to have NRA endorsement.”

Ambler also added that Biden is “not just the beneficiary of shifting policy on this issue, he is one of the people who have shaped the policy on this issue over his decades of service in the Senate.”

Indeed, Biden has a long and often personal history with the various weapon groups. In his endorsement, Brady noted that the organization worked alongside Biden in 1994, when he was a senator, to pass a federal ban on certain high-powered firearms. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Arizona, who was nearly killed in a 2011 mass shooting and the namesake of one of the groups that backed Biden, spoke about the Vice President’s support for the time as she recovered from her injuries. .

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His aides say Biden has long understood that the call for tougher gun laws resonates with Americans, especially after meeting with countless survivors and family members of victims of gun violence, which encouraged him to speak frequently on the subject.

“I think one of the most exciting things about being president is that you can help change the conversation and change the narrative by being willing to go out there and speak boldly about an issue.” said White House staff secretary Stefanie Feldman, who previously worked at the Domestic Policy Council. “And he has done that since day one of his administration, even back on the campaign trail in 2020.”

In separate mentions, Giffords, Everytown and Brady threw their support behind Biden in March 2020 — a time when the former vice president was campaigning to lock in the Democratic nomination against Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The Community Justice Action Fund was not approved in 2020.

“With their first-ever executive action on public safety, President Biden and Vice President Harris have made historic investments in community violence response, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to addressing gun violence as the health emergency. public that it is, and making the most significant strides towards ending this crisis in decades,” said Greg Jackson, executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund.

Just over half of voters want to see the nation’s gun policy made tougher, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 94,000 voters nationwide for The Associated Press by NORC at the ‘University of Chicago. And there are clear partisan divides. About 9 in 10 Democrats want tougher gun laws, compared to about 3 in 10 Republicans.

In addition to last year’s bipartisan law, Biden issued an executive order cracking down on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms without serial numbers used to track them and that are often purchased without background checks. He’s also set to tighten regulations on gun slings, like the one used in a shooting in Boulder, Colorado that left 10 people dead.

And last month he announced another order to strengthen background checks for gun purchases, promote safer gun storage and ensure law enforcement gets the most out of the bipartisan law enacted last summer.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris’ unwavering commitment to ending gun violence has been evident from day one,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden’s re-election campaign manager, said Biden and Harris were “humbled” to receive the endorsement and added that “the job is far from done, as MAGA Republicans in Congress continue to side with the NRA and common sense legislation that would save American lives.

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