Biden administration announces new actions to promote safe firearm storage

First lady Jill Biden will lead a town hall Thursday at the White House, where cabinet officials and school principals from across the country will gather to seek solutions to increasing gun violence throughout the country. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
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Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The Biden administration will unveil new federal actions to promote the safe storage of firearms in households, building upon an executive order signed by President Joe Biden last year in response to increasing gun violence.

To highlight the new actions, the White House will host a town hall on Thursday with school principals from across the country who will gather with first lady Jill Biden, White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention Director Stefanie Feldman and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

The administration recognized principals and education leaders as frontline figures in the effort to prevent gun violence.

The administration is taking steps to ramp up firearm safety amid an escalating gun crisis in the United States, where shootings have become the leading cause of death among children, the White House said.

The newest policies aim to protect an estimated 4.6 million children who live in homes with improperly stored guns, which inadvertently lead to school shootings, suicides, accidental wounding, and firearm thefts that continue to threaten communities nationwide.

As part of the new directives, the Education Department will send a letter to school principals nationwide to reassert the gravity of the issue, and suggest new guidance to parents and caregivers on safe gun storage.

The plan includes a communication template that school leaders can use to engage with the community on preventive actions.

Additionally, the Justice Department will release a comprehensive guide to safe firearms storage, including suggestions for best practices and options for different types of weapons.

The plan includes a marketing campaign by the Department of Veterans Affairs that aims to reduce suicides among veterans and active military service members.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will also issue clear rules for gun dealers, specifying that they must offer storage or safety devices for sale that work with the guns they have in stock.

The ATF also sent a letter to all federally licensed gun sellers, explaining their legal duties if they decide to offer temporary storage at their place of business.

Funds are available for schools to promote gun safety awareness as well as for law enforcement agencies to acquire gun locks and storage devices that can be distributed to gun owners.

The executive order Biden signed in March 2023 was aimed at curbing gun violence following a string of mass shootings during his term.

The episodes included 11 killed at a dance studio in Monterey Park, Calif., on Jan. 21, 2023; and seven killed in a workplace shooting two days later in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

A massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., left 10 dead on May 14, 2022, and on May 24, 2022, another mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, left 22 dead.

More than a year earlier, a gunman killed eight people at several Atlanta-area spas in March 2021, shortly after Biden took office.