Biden Slammed by Parkland Survivors for Seeing More Gun Violence in First Year Than Trump

Gun violence survivors are calling on President Joe Biden to take bigger steps on gun control after the nation saw more than 40,000 deaths during Biden's first year of presidency.

On Friday, student-led advocacy group March For Our Lives (M4OL) released a statement saying, "As the President celebrates his first year in office, we are horrified by the escalating epidemic of gun violence that has continued under his watch."

"As a candidate, the President pledged to end the epidemic of gun violence," the group, which was created by survivors of the 2018 Parkland school shooting, said. "But as our leader in the White House, he has simply tinkered at the edges, rather than coordinating a whole-of-government response that treats this crisis like the emergency that it is."

During Biden's first year as president, the U.S. saw a total of 44,868 gun deaths in 2021, according to the Gun Violence Archives (GVA).

Comparably, there were 15,727 deaths in 2017 during former President Donald Trump's first year in the White House.

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During President Joe Biden's first year in the White House, the U.S. saw a total of 44,868 gun deaths in 2021. Above, Biden delivers remarks on January 21, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

In 2019, GVA began tracking suicide gun deaths, which account for roughly 24,000 deaths annually. Factoring in those figures, the total number of gun violence deaths in 2017 is likely to fall closer to 39,727—meaning Biden's first year as president saw a 12 percent increase in gun deaths when compared to Trump's.

Marking a year of accomplishments, the White House has released a list of Biden's wins since his inauguration, including "addressed gun violence and crime."

"President Biden issued a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun crime, including cracking down on gun trafficking and the proliferation of 'ghost guns,'" the White House website reads.

While M4OL acknowledged that Biden "has taken some welcome and overdue steps"—including the ruling on ghost guns and the acknowledgment of gun violence as a national epidemic by the CDC under the Biden administration—the group also pointed out pitfalls of his leadership.

The group criticized the president's withdrawal of David Chipman as the nominee to serve as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as well as Biden's "inability to use his bully pulpit to demand action from Congress" in the wake of the Oxford school shooting back in November.

The shooting in Michigan, which killed four and injured seven, was the most deadly school shooting since Parkland.

"As the President has said himself, the buck stops with him," M4OL said on Friday. "He is the leader of the Democratic party, and we cannot accept an abdication of his responsibility—he cannot pass the buck to Congress, he must demonstrate real leadership on this issue."

In the statement, the group called on Biden to appoint a cabinet-level Director of Gun Violence Prevention to lead the White House's efforts against gun violence.

"On the President's anniversary, at the conclusion of one of the most deadly years for gun violence in our nation's history, we must ask the President bluntly: Mr. President, have you done enough?" M4OL asked.