Two faces familiar in Washington during the Obama administration, outspoken on the subject of guns, are scheduled to return to the Beltway under a Joe Biden presidency.
Biden's office on Monday announced he intended to nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.
Becerra, a long-time Democrat who formerly represented California on Capitol Hill where he was a proponent for expanded background checks and sponsored the National Crime Gun Identification Act of 2008-- a failed federal firearms microstamping mandate-- became the state's AG in 2017 when Kamala Harris vacated the position to assume a seat in the U.S. Senate. While the state's "top cop," he has repeatedly ramped up regulation on guns, going so far as suing the ATF to force federal regulators to lower the boom on so-called "80-percent" lowers and kits.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services, a cabinet-level appointment, oversees 11 different departments at HHS including the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health, both of which have long been under pressure by the left to become more active in research and policy aligned with gun control methodology. Last year, Congress approved $25 million for the CDC and NIH to research reducing gun-related deaths and injuries.
Larry Keane, senior vice president, and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry's trade association said the Becerra nomination is a clear broadside that a Biden White House plans to embark on gun control on multiple levels.
"That nomination would put a firebrand gun control collaborator at the helm of the nation’s leading health organization delivering services and support of scientific advances in medicine, public health and social services," said Keane. "This is a harbinger that the federal office that employs 80,000 and has a $1.3 trillion budget will be used to push an antigun ideology over science. Attorney General Becerra’s nomination means the next four years will be an administration pushing firearm ownership as a public health crisis and using the cover of a national health emergency to trample on Constitutional rights."
Before assuming the post of Surgeon General, Murthy was the president of “Doctors for America.” Murthy founded the group in 2008 under the name of “Doctors for Obama.” Gun control as a public health issue was a large part of that organization’s agenda.
Anti-Gun Groups Applaud Choices
National anti-gun groups funded in large part by billionaire former Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg welcomed the news from Delaware that Becerra and Murthy were on tap.
“Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Dr. Vivek Murthy are both proven gun sense champions who will help lead the Biden administration’s effort to treat gun violence like the public health emergency it is,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown on Monday. “America is facing down two intertwined crises right now — Covid and gun violence — and Attorney General Becerra and Dr. Murthy understand that we need to tackle both at the same time.”
Meanwhile, one of the oldest anti-gun groups in the country echoed those sentiments.
"We have long been proud to work with gun safety champion Xavier Becerra," said the Brady Campaign on news of his nomination, "This is great news for the health and safety of our country."