WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIVB) — President Biden announced a new Gun Violence Prevention Office in Washington on Friday and several gun violence survivors were invited to the nation’s capital, including Zeneta Everhart, mother of Zaire Goodman who was shot during the racist Tops Mass Shooting.
“We’re going to centralize accelerate and intensify our work to save more lives more quickly,” Biden said.
Everhart says she got called to go to the White House earlier this week and was excited to be there for this announcement. More than that, she says she wanted to keep Buffalo at the top of lawmakers’ minds.
“This visit to the White House today was truly, truly special. Not just because of the establishment of this office, but because now Buffalo has a relationship, a personal relationship with this office,” Everhart said.
The first of its kind office will focus on putting laws in place to stop the surge of gun violence in the United States. It will be overseen by Vice President Harris.
“The President carries the memory of his travel to Buffalo and his experience meeting with the families and survivors in Buffalo very close to his heart,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Olivia Dalton told News 4.
Two office staffers are gun violence survivors, including Greg Jackson who worked with the Community Justice Action Fund and was on scene in the days following the Tops Mass Shooting.
“They’re people who both bring a depth of advocacy, but also a personal experience with gun violence,” Dalton said.
Everhart says she views her trips to Washington as an opportunity to not only represent her son, but also share more about the East Side of Buffalo to the nation’s most powerful leaders.
“This office is now going to be hyper focused on gun prevention, but not only gun prevention, but they are going to have Buffalo at the top of their minds when they make those decisions,” Everhart said.
President Biden also said he is pushing Congress to pass stricter gun laws, expanding on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which was passed last year.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.