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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Rep. Lucy McBath
In the wake of President Joe Biden's announcement Thursday of a series of executive actions related to gun violence, Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath wrote a poignant letter to her late teenage son, who was murdered in 2012, writing that the changes will help protect children like him and adding, "This day is your day."
McBath's message, addressed "to my Jordan" and posted to Twitter on Thursday, reads:
"This day. At the White House. In the Rose Garden. The President announced actions that will help keep families safe. Actions that will protect children across America. Children like you. My dear Jordan, this day is your day."
On Nov. 23, 2012, McBath's 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was fatally shot while listening to music in an SUV with his friends in Jacksonville, Florida.
The shooter, Michael Dunn, claimed he felt threatened when the group refused to turn down their car radio. Dunn, who is now serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder, is white. Jordan, along with his three unarmed friends, was Black.
The shooting started McBath, now 60, down a path of activism, culminating in a successful 2018 run to represent Georgia's 6th Congressional District outside Atlanta.
In a separate post, published to her personal account on Thursday, McBath shared another photo of her and a young Jordan.
"3,058 days ago my son was murdered. I cried. I prayed. I picked up the pieces of my life and began to fight for justice," the Democratic lawmaker wrote to caption the photo. "Today, I sat at the White House while our President took decisive action to keep our families safe. Jordan - we are winning our fight for gun safety."
McBath's personal posts came after Biden, 78, announced executive actions he said were intended to curb an "epidemic" of gun violence in the country — though the moves quickly met with conservative resistance and the specter of legal challenges from those citing the Second Amendment.
Biden's actions, announced at a press conference held at the Rose Garden, include directing the Justice Department to change its rules to limit the proliferation of "ghost guns" — homemade firearms made from kits bought online that typically don't have traceable serial numbers.
The rule would require that all parts of manufactured guns have serial numbers and buyers submit to background checks.
The president also announced he was directing the DOJ to propose changing its rules within 60 days "to treat pistols modified with stabilizing braces with the seriousness they deserve," requiring that modified weapons be subject to the same rules that apply to silencer add-ons. (Those requirements include an owner paying a $200 fee and submitting their name and information to the DOJ.)
Biden additionally instructed the DOJ to propose "red flag" legislation for states to uniformly adopt, which would allow police or family members to petition in court to have someone banned from owning or obtaining guns temporarily due to danger or a perceived threat.
Biden further announced his nomination of gun control advocate and gun owner David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and urged Congress to pass legislation that would close background-check loopholes, enact a national "red flag" law and ban assault-style firearms and high-capacity magazines.
"We got a long way to go," Biden said at the press conference. "It always seems like we always have a long way to go. But today, we're taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis."
Biden also insisted that "nothing I'm about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment," calling the criticism "phony arguments," though his push for Congress to enact more sweeping reforms isn't likely to be fast-acting.
Gun laws have long stalled in Congress. (Indeed, the Senate has not even confirmed a director of the ATF in years.)
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday evening, McBath noted that Biden "understands the pain of losing someone," a reference to the losses the president has experienced in his own life (his first wife Neilia and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a 1972 car crash, while his son Beau died from brain cancer in 2015).
"It was definitely apparent in the Rose Garden today as he spoke directly to survivors like myself and advocates, he made it clear that this administration is willing to fight to keep all of our families safe," McBath said.
Saying she was grateful for the executive measures, McBath noted that more work still needs to be done.
"In this culture of gun violence which has been building and building for years, it is going to take some time," she said. "It is not going to happen overnight. Every piece of policy put forth ... is building a culture for safer communities."
McBath continued: "Congress, we are the ones that have to act. We're the ones that are responsible and accountable for our constituents. So it's up to us to do right by Americans and put forth these life-saving measures."