The Biden campaign Monday laid out the stakes of the 2024 election when it comes to gun violence, warning that a second term for former President Trump would “cost more American lives.”
In a memo shared first with The Hill titled “Trump’s America in 2025: More Guns, More Shootings, More Deaths,” the Biden campaign cited Trump’s past comments to argue the Republican front-runner would allow more firearms in schools and push for a national concealed carry law.
“A Donald Trump presidency will mean more guns in schools and more guns in the hands of criminals, all because he thinks being pro-gun makes him look tough,” Biden campaign spokesperson Seth Schuster said in a statement. “But his refusal to stand up to the gun lobby to protect our kids makes him weak and a coward.”
“We simply cannot allow his extreme agenda in the White House that will cost more American lives,” Schuster added.
The memo is part of a concerted effort by the Biden campaign to highlight the potential consequences of another Trump presidency. Past releases have covered abortion, immigration and threats to democracy.
President Biden has repeatedly pushed for congressional action on gun control and has taken executive action to try and address the problem, giving his campaign a clear contrast with what it views as a record of inaction from Trump.
Trump in 2018 accused Republicans of fearing the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida, and he suggested he would take action on the issue. But the White House’s eventual proposal that year did not address expanded background checks or raising the age for gun purchases, changes the NRA opposed.
Trump again in 2019 flirted with supporting stronger gun laws after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, but no major legislation was passed by Congress.
In a speech at an annual NRA meeting earlier this year, Trump vowed to protect the Second Amendment and argued the rise in school shootings was a result of widespread mental health problems in the country.
He said if elected, he would support putting more guns in schools to protect them from future shootings, proposing a new tax credit to reimburse any teacher for the cost of a concealed carry firearm and training from a qualified expert.
Trump also said he would ask Congress to pass a bill to create “national concealed carry reciprocity.”
“It’s simple: The safety of our children is on the ballot next November,” the Biden campaign said in Monday’s memo.
Biden has for years pushed for tougher gun laws, having championed an assault weapons ban while he was in the Senate and serving as the Obama administration’s point person to develop potential solutions after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
Since taking office, the president has signed executive actions to target the proliferation of ghost guns, which are difficult to track, and to bolster background checks. Biden in September established the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to focus specifically on the issue of mass shootings. He has repeatedly called on Congress to reimpose a ban on assault weapons.
Biden in 2022 signed bipartisan legislation that enhanced background checks for gun purchasers between the age of 18 and 21, made obtaining firearms through straw purchases or trafficking a federal offense and clarified the definition of a federally licensed firearm dealer, among other measures.
Despite that, mass shootings have been a persistent problem during Biden’s presidency.
Most recently, Biden traveled to Lewiston, Maine, earlier this month after a gunman killed 18 people in two separate locations there.
The president has the backing of major gun safety groups for his 2024 reelection, including Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady and Team ENOUGH, Community Justice Action Fund and Giffords.
“Joe Biden is, hands down, the only candidate in this race who has both the track record and the guts to stand up to the gun lobby and protect Americans from gun crime,” Peter Ambler, Giffords co-founder and executive director, said in a statement.