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March For Our Lives calls on Biden to dedicate $1B to tackle gun violence, appoint director

March For Our Lives calls on Biden to dedicate $1B to tackle gun violence, appoint director
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Gun violence prevention group March For Our Lives on Monday called on the White House and President BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE to dedicate $1 billion to fund community intervention programming to tackle urban gun violence and appoint a director of gun violence prevention.

Biden called on Congress to pass “commonsense gun law reforms” on Feb. 14 to mark the third anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. His plan included an end to legal immunity for gun manufacturers, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and an expansion of federal background checks.

“The anniversary statement was a great start but these demands were an opportunity for us to say we definitely want to see action from Congress, we definitely want to see appropriations from Congress, but at the same time there are changes that can be made at the executive level. Highlight the executive side over the legislative side,” Max Markham, March for Lives policy director, told The Hill.

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March for Our Lives met virtually with the White House on Thursday. The group wants Biden to put forth a national plan that would be at the scope of what they’ve seen the White House do on COVID-19 and what it will do on climate change. 

“These are all intersectional inter-related problems that need to be addressed with funding and with action,” Markham said. “We’re excited to partner with the White House but also planning to hold them accountable for their promises.”

The director of gun violence prevention role would have Cabinet-level authority and create a task force including agency and bureau heads. March For Our Lives also noted that any task force or committee chaired by the director must dedicate at least 25 percent of its membership to youth voices and leaders from communities of color.

They also called for the White House, on top of the $1 billion, to increase funding for federal firearm injury research to the firearm mortality burden and to ensure a minimum $37 million increase in annual funding focused on children and adolescents. 

They want the White House to broaden National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research and instruct agencies to track law enforcement violence. 

Biden in his campaign called for scientists to help solve “the gun violence public health epidemic” and said the president will call on Congress to appropriate $50 million to accelerate research at the NIH and CDC on the issue.