In the wake of two mass shootings that received national attention last month, President Joe Biden is taking executive action aiming to curb gun violence and calling on Congress to pass further gun control legislation.
At an event at the White House on Thursday, Biden said, “Today we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis.”
He went on to declare that none of his executive actions would infringe on Second Amendment rights and said any arguments to the contrary are “phony.”
“But no amendment to the Constitution is absolute. You can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater and call it freedom of speech. In the beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. In the very beginning, when the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons. So, the idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution.”
Watch the video below:
President Biden calls gun violence in the US an “epidemic”: "Our flag was still flying at half-staff for the victims of the horrific murder of eight primarily Asian-American people in Georgia, when 10 more lives were taken in a mass murder in Colorado" https://t.co/spd2klgGPm pic.twitter.com/LsyikiGcUx
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 8, 2021
He added, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment.”
Here’s a look at the executive actions he announced:
Issue a proposed rule to stop the proliferation of “ghost guns”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will issue a proposed rule with 30 days on how to stop the distribution of “ghost guns” — kits that contain the components of a gun and directions on how to assemble them within 30 minutes.
These firearms do not have serial numbers and cannot be traced when they turn up at a crime scene. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), 10,000 “ghost guns” were recovered by law enforcement in 2019.
Restrict arm braces for pistols
The DOJ will have 60 days to issue a proposed rule to restrict the use of arm braces. The White House notes that such devices “effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle.”
The alleged shooter at the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado, used a Ruger AR-556, which had an arm brace. As USA Today notes, his firearm was more concealable than an AR-15 but subject to far fewer gun regulations and would have been easier to buy.
According to Ruger’s website, the brace helps to “aid in accuracy, balance and recoil management.”
Draft model “red flag” legislation for states
The DOJ will release an example of legislation states can pass known as a “red flag” law that would allow family members or law enforcement officials to petition a court to temporarily prevent people in “crisis” from “accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others,” as the White House release reads.
Make investments in “evidence-based community violence interventions”
The administration plans to spend $5 billion on community violence intervention programs which the White House says are “proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration,” the White House release reads.
Additionally, five federal agencies will make changes to “26 different programs to direct vital support to community violence intervention programs as quickly as possible.”
Direct to ATF to release annual reports on firearm trafficking
In 2000, the ATF released a report on an investigation into firearm trafficking, which the White House says helped federal, state, and local officials address “common channels of firearms trafficking.”
However, it argues that 20 years after that report, there is “good reason” to believe that channels for firearm trafficking as changed — specifically, it pointed to the proliferation of “ghost guns.”
Nominate David Chipman to lead the ATF
The agency has been without a director since 2015.
Chipman worked at ATF for 25 years and is an adviser to a gun control organization.
Biden also called on Congress to pass legislation to strengthen background checks, remove liability protection for gun makers, and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
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