NEW YORK –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, responded to the confirmation of Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the Department of Justice –– a department that will be instrumental in combating both gun violence and armed far-right extremism.
“No part of the Biden administration can do more to save lives from gun violence than the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Merrick Garland is a perfect leader to make that goal a reality,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “His experience prosecuting right-wing terrorists like the Oklahoma City bomber is invaluable right now, and his lifetime of public service has prepared him exceptionally well to address the twin threats of gun violence and armed extremism.”
“Simply put, Attorney General Merrick Garland will save lives and protect our democracy as attorney general,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We look forward to standing behind his Department of Justice as they take on the NRA, combat our deadly gun violence epidemic, and root out the armed, far-right extremists who are attacking our nation.”
The Department of Justice is critical for addressing gun violence in America. As laid out in our executive actions memo, the DOJ –– through its offices, divisions and bureaus –– can investigate and prosecute armed white supremacist violence, pursue police accountability, strengthen our background check system by shutting down the marketplace for ghost guns, enforce the law on who is engaged in the business of selling firearms, address the Charleston loophole, prioritize solutions to city gun violence by funding the community-based inventions we know work and stemming the flow of crime guns into our cities by reforming how guns are sold at federal dealers, and more.
According to The Trace, Attorney General Garland was “a key figure in a 2000 case involving the National Rifle Association” during which the NRA claimed that the National Instant Background Check System was a step towards a national gun registry. After a dismissal by a lower court, the NRA appealed the case to Attorney General Garland’s D.C. Circuit Court, which upheld the ruling and wrote: “We see no basis for concluding that auditing the [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] would suddenly produce constitutional violations. Nor does the NRA identify any specific features of the auditing process that implicate constitutionally protected rights.” Later, the NRA unsurprisingly opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court.
His team is full of gun sense champions as well, with Deputy Attorney General nominee Lisa Monaco acting as President Barack Obama’s homeland security adviser as his administration pushed for gun safety laws; Associate Attorney General nominee Vanita Gupta leading on police reform, advocating for gun safety laws, and speaking out against armed extremists; and Assistant Attorney General nominee Kristen Clarke advocating for background checks on all gun sales.
This is the strongest gun safety administration in history, as evidenced by President Biden’s long record of taking on the NRA and passing life-saving laws, Vice President Kamala Harris’ years of gun safety advocacy, and the unmatched gun sense cabinet they have built in recent months.