President Joe Biden will announce six executive actions on Thursday aimed at addressing the “ epidemic ” of gun violence in the United States, senior officials said Wednesday evening, the government’s first concrete steps to address an issue Biden has been facing since. his time is struggling. in the United States Senate.
“We know that Americans die every day in this country from gun violence,” an official told reporters in a telephone briefing previewing the executive actions. “That’s why we’re pursuing an agenda that not only tackles mass shootings, but also community violence that affects proportionately black and brown Americans, domestic violence and suicide with firearms.”
The actions come because the slow return to normal life in American life has spawned a succession of mass casualties nationwide, and gun control advocates have grown fearful that Biden’s focus on pandemic recovery could come at the expense of a problem. which languished for decades without meaningful legislative action in Congress.
According to government officials who insisted they are only ‘first’ reforms and are likely to be followed by additional measures in the coming months, the orders touch on a range of issues related to arms purchases, the publication of ‘red flag’ legislation such as a roadmap for action state level and data collection related to firearms trafficking, as well as some issues specifically related to recent mass shootings, including the requirement that guns require stabilizing braces, such as those used in a grocery store shooting in Boulder last month. subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The law requires such weapons to be registered with the federal government.
The actions also included ordering the Justice Department to draft a proposal to stop the proliferation of so-called “ghost weapons”, which are composed of kits and cannot be detected by law enforcement officials. That provision was first reported by Politico.
Finally, the president will announce his intention to nominate David Chipman as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Chipman, a former special agent at the agency, is a senior advisor to the gun control advocacy group founded by former Arizona congressman Gabby Giffords, who nearly died in a 2011 shooting that claimed six lives.
“There is no one better to run ATF right now,” said an administrative official. “He will help the federal government better enforce our gun laws, while respecting the Second Amendment.”
The moves come as Democrats are putting increasing public pressure on the White House to tackle gun violence in the United States. Last week, more than 100 House Democrats signed a letter calling on Biden to “take executive action” to better regulate assault rifles such as those used in the Boulder shooting – which one of the orders will do.
“For too long, in order to bypass the National Firearms Act, gun manufacturers have designed and marketed AR-15 style concealable firearms that fire rifle bullets,” the letter, written by Reps, said. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Val Demings (D-FL) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). “Concealed assault-style firearms that fire rifle bullets pose an unreasonable threat to our communities and must be fully regulated under the National Firearms Act in accordance with the intent and history of the law.”
But the actions also demonstrate the limitations of Biden’s ability to tackle gun violence to the extent that many advocates have long been calling for without the cooperation of Congress – most notably, Chipman’s nomination. The ATF has not had a Senate-sanctioned director since 2015, and the former special agent’s role as an outspoken supporter of arms reform hinders prospects for his confirmation in a closely-divided Senate.
“The president will continue to reiterate his message that we need Congress to act,” a government official told reporters on Wednesday. “This is a policy that is bipartisan with the American people – the vast majority of people support universal background checks, support other actions to reduce gun violence in this country. It has been a long, long time since Congress took action. “