Biden Readies Limited First Actions on Gun Control
US President Joe Biden will announce his first limited actions on gun control on Thursday, according to a senior administration official.
Biden will order his administration to tighten restrictions on so-called ghost weapons and stabilizer mounts that allow weapons to be used with greater precision.
The actions, which also include proposing a gun control advocate to lead the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), meet the commitment Biden made after two deadly shootings. last month of taking immediate “common sense” steps to address gun violence.
But they fall far short of the radical actions that Biden promised as a candidate and that must be approved by Congress, including a ban on assault weapons or the enactment of universal background checks. Senior administration officials framed these upcoming announcements as initial steps that would be followed by additional action later, including pressure on lawmakers to act.
Last month, after a mass shooting in Colorado , Biden said, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future.” But he has recognized that passing a gigantic new infrastructure plan, and not new gun laws, is his top legislative priority.
Biden will make the announcements Thursday from the White House alongside his attorney general, Merrick Garland, whose department will be responsible for writing the proposed rules.
Phantom guns are handmade or self-assembled firearms that do not have serial numbers. Some can be made in as little as 30 minutes using kits and parts purchased online. Biden will order the Justice Department to issue a proposed rule to “stop the proliferation” of those weapons, though a senior administration official who anticipated the measure declined to elaborate on how the rule, scheduled for 30 days, might specifically work. days.
Another proposed rule would target stabilizing gun mounts, which aid in gun accuracy and control slipstream. Under the new rule, the devices, which the senior administration official argued turn pistols into short-barreled rifles, would be covered by the National Firearms Law regulations, including the registration requirement. Last month’s attacker in Boulder, Colorado, used a modified pistol with a brace, according to a law enforcement source.
The announcements come as the president is expected to nominate David Chipman as the next ATF director, a White House official told CNN. Chipman is a former agency agent serving as senior policy adviser at Giffords, the organization run by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who became a gun control advocate after being shot in 2011.
The ATF has not had a permanent director since 2015.
Biden also plans to announce new investments in intervention programs in communities prone to violence; a directive to the Department of Justice to issue model “red flag” laws for states that allow temporary removal of firearms from people deemed at high risk of hurting themselves or others; and a full report on firearms trafficking.
Taken together, the actions are the first real steps by the Biden administration to combat gun violence. Inside the White House, efforts to design executive actions have been spearheaded by the director of the White House National Policy Council, Susan Rice, and the director of the Office of Public Participation, Cedric Richmond, officials from the arms security administration and advocacy groups.
That included meeting with some of those groups and brainstorming steps that Biden could take on his own. Some advocates had been crying out for action from the administration, pointing to Biden’s promise to prioritize gun control during his campaign.
But the initial reaction from firearms safety advocacy groups Wednesday night was positive.
“Each of these executive actions will begin to address the epidemic of gun violence that has been unleashed during the pandemic and will begin to fulfill President Biden’s promise to be the strongest arms security president in history,” he said in a statement. John Feinblatt, president of the NGO Everytown for Gun Safety.
“These much-needed executive actions will immediately begin saving lives, and our grassroots army of nearly 6 million supporters looks forward to supporting President Biden as he urges the Senate to follow his example and act,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.
During the campaign, Biden said he would entrust his attorney general with instituting better enforcement of existing gun laws as a means of curbing gun violence. He also made a campaign promise to send $ 900 million to community programs aimed at fighting violence, something the administration is working out how to deliver.
After the shootings last month, Biden called on Congress to take action such as recreating an assault weapons ban, and Vice President Kamala Harris, who advocated for executive action during the campaign, told “CBS This Morning” that “if we really we want something that is lasting, we have to pass legislation. ‘
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed gun legislation last month that would expand background checks on all commercial gun sales, but the bills face tougher paths in the Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority. 50-50 and would need significant Republican support to overcome legislative obstructionism.
Biden acknowledged during a press conference that his top legislative priority was to pass an infrastructure package and that he believed careful timing was key to the success of any proposed bill.
And it has recognized that its political capital is limited.
“I have not yet counted,” he said in March when asked if he believed he had enough votes to pass significant reforms.
As the nation’s stance on guns has evolved, Biden has been a prominent figure at most key moments for more than three decades, from the triumph of a 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994 to the disappointment from a failed push for universal background checks in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.
The recent shootings in Georgia and Colorado had raised the question within the West Wing about how much political capital Biden should spend on the affair, which has so often ended in frustration.