We Have a President-Elect. It's Time to Save Lives From Gun Violence | Opinion

The election is over. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won, and they will soon be president and vice president. We've lived through unprecedented rancor, division and entrenchment over the past four years, courtesy of Donald Trump. While some refuse to accept this result, the reality of this transition will not change—on January 20, Joseph Biden will become our 46th president.

The gun violence prevention movement has never seen a more solid endorsement of its cause than in the election of Biden, the greatest gun violence prevention champion our movement has ever had in the White House. And we are ready to get to work now to save lives.

Fred wrote his book, Find the Helpers, about finding hope through helpers, including one of his most important helpers: President-elect Joe Biden. The book, the result of Fred's journey of grief and activism after losing his daughter, Jaime, at the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and his brother, Michael, to 9/11-related cancer, is based on the premise that our greatest hope is found in human connection and that our common good is found in common ground. Biden won the presidency on a similar platform, that we can build back better, and our common core of decency prevails against all else.

Building back better means ending gun violence and ensuring that the parents of tomorrow don't look back and wonder if they said "I love you" before their child, killed in a school shooting, left for school.

Though the outgoing president has stoked division and fear around common-sense and constitutional gun safety policies, we know that the overwhelming majority of Americans, including majorities of both Republicans and Democrats, support sensible gun violence prevention laws and have elected leaders on both sides of the aisle who support gun violence prevention. Leaders like Republican Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Democrat Lucy McBath of Georgia, who lost her son, Jordan, to gun violence, have won re-election as gun violence prevention candidates. Their vision is not radical. It is sensible and basic: an America without the threat of gun violence at school, at church and at every corner.

That's an America voters believe in. That's why over 70 percent of us support a national extreme risk law to create a legal process allowing family members and law enforcement to remove firearms from someone who is a proven risk to themselves or others. It's why 94 percent of voters support universal background checks on gun sales, including 90 percent of gun owners. There are few issues in our country that garner such overwhelming support.

Gun violence is not partisan. Bullets do not know if you are Democrat or Republican. However, the response has too often been a partisan one, because organizations like the National Rifle Association seek to recast this conversation as partisan and political when it is not. What is true is that those who oppose those common-sense measures have pushed back for too long against change with no evidence to support their efforts and a string of lies fueled by corporate America, not real Americans. But those days are over.

The American people voted decisively for Biden and Harris, who ran on the most comprehensive gun violence prevention platform in history. Organizers, particularly Black and brown organizers, young people and victims of gun violence across the nation, have worked together to ensure gun violence prevention was understood as a critical electoral issue. We're standing in the sun on this issue because of their work. And, with a partner in the White House, we're ready to show how we can work together to achieve needed change.

In his life, Biden has suffered unthinkable loss: a wife and daughter in a car accident and his son Beau to cancer. He understands that many of the demands our country makes of average citizens—to accept that sending kids to school means they may not come back, that going to a movie theater is a risk and that walking down the street in far too many neighborhoods means you need a bulletproof vest—are unacceptable. He understands, foremost, that gun violence is preventable, and we cannot wait. We must roll up our sleeves, fix what is broken and stop the violence.

In America, if we are to live up to our ideals, then protecting our fellow citizens and our children from all risks and ending the most American of risks—gun violence—is the worthiest of goals. We intend to do all we can to help Biden in real and decisive efforts to end gun violence. He has been handed a mandate by the people. He told us that he ran to restore the soul of our nation. He cannot do that alone, and our movement is behind him. Let's do it together.

Fred Guttenberg is the father of Jaime Guttenberg, who was a victim of the Parkland school shooting, and the author of Find the Helpers.

Kris Brown is president of the Brady Campaign.

The views expressed in this article are the authors' own.