Joe Biden Unveils Executive Actions On Guns In Wake Of Latest Mass Shootings: “It’s An International Embarrassment”

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Ted Johnson
·3 min read
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President Joe Biden announced a series of new executive action to place restrictions on “ghost guns” and another to address stabilizing devices that make pistols act as rifles.

Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said at a Rose Garden event, while noting a shooting last night in South Carolina in which five people were killed. The three major news networks carried the speech.

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Biden was joined at the event by Vice President Kamala Harris, First Gentleman Doug Emhoff and former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was severely wounded in 2011 when a gunman shot her and others at an event in Tucson, AZ.

The president insisted the actions would not infringe on the Second Amendment, as pro-gun advocates vow to challenge the measures in court.

“No amendment to the Constitution is absolute,” Biden said. “From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own.”

The actions include:

Ghost guns. The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule within 30 days designed to try to limit the proliferation of so-called ghost guns, which are made from kits that allow people to make their own guns, untraceable because of the lack of a serial number. Reportedly under consideration is a rule to impose background checks on those who purchase the homemade firearms.

Stabilizers. The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule within 60 days to make clear that a stabilizing brace for a pistol effectively turns it into a short-barreled rifle. That is significant because it would then be subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The White House noted that the alleged shooter in last month’s tragedy in Boulder used a pistol that had one of the stabilizing devices.

‘Red flag’ legislation. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the DOJ would publish model “red flag” legislation for states to adopt. Those laws allow family members or police to petition courts for orders to temporarily block a person from obtaining a firearm if they present a danger.

The White House also unveiled measures to boost community violence intervention programs, with $5 billion proposed as part of Biden’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure package. The DOJ also will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking, and Biden nominated David Chipman to serve as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Biden also urged Congress to back legislation to expand background checks on gun purchases, and another to close other loopholes. He also reiterated his support for a ban on assault weapons.

But such legislation faces a tough time in the Senate, where it would have to clear a 60 vote threshold. Even in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting massacre in 2012, when Democrats held a wider majority, legislation to expand background checks stalled in the Senate.

“Enough prayers. Time for some action,” Biden said, referring to a common response among Republican lawmakers to past mass shootings.

Back in 2013, following the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, then-Vice President Biden was tasked with meeting with various groups, including representatives from the entertainment and video game industries, to come up with a set of proposals to address gun violence.

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