President Biden on Thursday took a modest set of steps to deal with what he known as an “epidemic” of gun violence, acknowledging that “much more needs to be done” and urgent Congress to take extra aggressive motion by closing background examine loopholes, banning assault weapons and stripping gun producers of safety from lawsuits.
“We’ve got a long way to go, it seems like we always have a long way to go,” Mr. Biden stated, acknowledging the constraints of measures he can implement with out Congress. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.”
Mr. Biden stated the Justice Department would situation a proposed rule to curb the proliferation of so-called ghost guns — kits that enable a gun to be assembled from items with no serial numbers. The intention of the rule can be to require that the parts in the kits have serial numbers that might enable them to be traced and for the weapons to be legally categorized as firearms, with the consumers subjected to background checks.
“I want to see these kits treated as firearms under the gun control act,” Mr. Biden stated.
Ghost weapons, consultants stated, have change into notably interesting to prison organizations and proper wing extremists who need untraceable firearms that don’t require any background checks. They are sometimes tied to shootings in states like California, which have instituted strict gun legal guidelines.
Mr. Biden additionally stated he would require that when a tool marketed as a stabilizing brace transforms a pistol right into a short-barrel rifle, that weapon is topic to the necessities of the National Firearms Act. The gunman in the Boulder, Colo., shooting last month used a pistol with an arm brace, making it extra steady and correct, he stated.
Mr. Biden stated the Justice Department would additionally publish mannequin “red flag” laws for states. The measure would enable cops and relations to petition a court docket to quickly take away firearms from individuals who could current a hazard to themselves or others.
While Mr. Biden can’t go nationwide crimson flag laws with out Congress, officers stated the purpose of the steering was to make it simpler for states that wish to undertake it to take action now. The division additionally plans to launch a complete report on firearms trafficking, which it has not finished since 2000.
“Red flag laws can stop mass shooters before they can act out their violent plans,” Mr. Biden stated, including that he wished to see a nationwide regulation.
Outside of mass shootings, gun violence stays the main reason behind demise for Black males between the ages of 15 and 34, Mr. Biden stated in his remarks, noting that further funding he has proposed for group violence packages can save lives.
The initiatives introduced Thursday don’t match in scope his dedication to the difficulty over the course of his profession, notably his time as a senator. In 1993, Mr. Biden performed a key function in the passage of the landmark Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. A 12 months later, he helped authorize a 10-year ban on assault weapons.
Mr. Biden acknowledged there may be solely a lot he can do with out Congress. “This is just a start,” he stated. “We have a lot of work to do.”
The House passed two gun control bills final month, however they’re languishing in the Senate in the face of the chamber’s 60-vote threshold for passing most laws, which requires the assist of at the least 10 Republicans. Mr. Biden known as on the Senate to take motion.
Mr. Biden additionally introduced his nomination of David Chipman, a gun control advocate, to steer the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The bureau has not had a everlasting director since 2015.
While Mr. Chipman’s choice got here as welcome information to gun control teams, few nominees put ahead by Mr. Biden have confronted steeper odds of affirmation in the Senate. Still, his allies suppose he might be able to win slender approval given the anguish over current shootings.
In 2006, lawmakers allied with the National Rifle Association enacted a provision making the place of A.T.F. director, which had beforehand been a political appointment, topic to Senate affirmation. As a end result, just one director, Obama nominee B. Todd Jones, has been confirmed during the last 15 years.