April 9, 2021
In a Rose Garden speech on March 8, President Joe Biden announced that he would introduce regulations to limit “ghost guns;” and would make it easier for people to flag family members who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms with a series of executive actions taken in the wake of recent mass shootings, NBC News reported.
The actions Biden intends to take are limited—and will still likely face legal opposition from gun rights advocates, who view any efforts to limit access as a violation of the Second Amendment.
The changes come in the wake of shootings in Georgia and Colorado and focus not just on trying to limit mass shootings, but also at reducing other forms of gun violence, such as suicides and domestic violence, Biden said.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it is an international embarrassment,” Biden said in remarks he made in the Rose Garden. He was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland. A number of Democratic congressional members, gun control advocates, and local officials also attended.
Biden also announced he is nominating David Chipman, a gun control advocate, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.
The White House detailed the planned executive actions, arguing that Biden’s instructions to the Department of Justice will curb access to guns, NBC News said.
Biden directed the DOJ to write rules that will reduce the proliferation of “ghost guns,” homemade firearms often made from parts bought online and that do not have traceable serial numbers. Biden said he wants kits and parts used to make guns to be treated as firearms where the parts have serial numbers and are subject to a background check.
Biden also sought to reduce access to stabilizing braces, which can effectively turn a pistol into a more lethal rifle while not being subject to the same regulations that a rifle of similar size would be. Biden said the alleged shooter in Boulder appears to have used one of these devices.
Finally, he asked the DOJ to publish model “red flag” laws for states to use as guides. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement agencies to petition state courts to temporarily block people from obtaining firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. Biden said states with such red flag laws have seen a reduction in the number of suicides.
Biden directed the DOJ to issue a report on firearms trafficking, which hasn’t been done since 2000. He also will announce support for programs aimed at “reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration,” according to a fact sheet shared by the White House.
The new guidelines are bound to face opposition from both sides of the aisle in Congress, NBC noted.
“The idea is just bizarre to suggest some of the things we are recommending is contrary to the Constitution,” Biden said.
And he has vowed to do more. In a call with reporters Wednesday night, administration officials stressed that Thursday’s actions were just the first step and that Biden would still pursue legislative solutions to gun violence.
“This is an initial set of actions to make progress on President Biden’s gun violence reduction agenda,” one official said. “The administration will be pursuing legislative and executive actions at the same time. You will continue to hear the president call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence.”
“The job of any president is to protect the American people, whether Congress acts or not,” Biden said. “I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep the American people safe from gun violence. But there’s much more that Congress can do to help that effort.”
Biden asked Congress to pass legislation already through the House to tighten background checks and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. He also called again for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and removed liability protections for gun makers.
Research contact: @NBCNews