In Biden's first 100 days, let's start off where we agree

In Biden's first 100 days, let's start off where we agree
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A new administration is about to be inaugurated, and hope should reign supreme. Yet much of the media and political focus for 2021 and beyond is already focused on potential disagreements, gridlock and deadlocks.

It does not have to be this way. We can start the Biden administration right by responding to the wishes of the vast majority of the American people.

What issue has the most overwhelming support? Not infrastructure, though 80 percent of American voters believe we should invest further in infrastructure.


Not early education, though 72 percent believe we should increase the availability of high-quality early education.

Only one idea has the support of 97 percent of the country: universal background checks for gun sales.

Common sense gun reform may be the most widely agreed upon issue, and enacting legislation in the first 100 days would set the tone for how we can work together to advance the agenda of the American people.

Studies show that 83 percent of gun owners (and virtually all non-gun owners) support background checks. Red flag laws — laws that permit police or family members to petition the court to order a temporary removal of a firearm from a person who may present a danger — are supported by 86 percent of all Americans.

These are massive numbers that you simply do not see on other major challenges facing our country.


Why is it so important to work on — and enact — this legislation at the outset of the Biden administration? Right now, gun sales are skyrocketing. As of Nov. 1, there were already more gun sales in the U.S. in 2020 than in all of 2019. Mass shootings in 2020 surpassed the record highs of 2019. And there were more than 24,000 suicides with a gun. There is no time to hesitate to enact laws that can save many lives.

Yes, there is a reason we have been slow to enact reforms in the past. Much of this is because the loud noise of the 3 percent who oppose such legislation often overwhelms the 97 percent who favor reforms. And gun owners, most of whom want gun safety measures, have been hesitant to advocate for gun reforms because too often they are vilified by the left, and they do not trust the messengers for gun safety, the media or our legislators in D.C.

But we can build trust by listening, by working together and by bringing all groups to the table to solve this critical problem.

We already agree on the goals and how to get there.

We need all voices — gun owners and non-gun owners alike — to be heard in this debate and to advocate for their point of view, respect each other, take the temperature down and talk. We can work together.

Some of our legislators, representing very different states, have already done this.

In the Senate, Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) Manchin'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time GOP lawmakers introduce resolution to censure Trump over Capitol riot MORE (D-W. Va.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (R-Pa.) have twice introduced universal background check legislation. Sens. Lindsay Graham (R- S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced Red Flag law legislation in 2018.

These bills did not have the backing of President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE, but they will have the backing of President Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE.

These ideas have support across the nation. Consider Iowa, a red state, where 81 percent of voters favor universal background checks and 75 percent of Iowa voters support red flag laws. That’s nearly the same as in Michigan, a purple state, where 88 percent say they favor universal background checks. In Wisconsin, another purple state, 71 percent favor Red Flag laws. Red states, purple states, blue states — all of one opinion.

Does popular gun legislation solve all issues? Of course not. But because we cannot solve all of our issues does not mean we should not make progress and save lives now. These bills — universal background checks and red flag laws — are simply common sense. 

Legislation is often the art of the possible. So let’s do that — let’s do what’s possible. Let’s set an example for how we can work together to solve America’s issues over the next four years.

Mathew Littman is executive director of 97percent, a new gun safety organization (@The_97_Percent). He previously served as chief speechwriter to Joe Biden (2006-2008) and was executive director of the pro-Biden SuperPAC “Win the West.” He also runs his own public affairs firm.