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Biden announces new executive orders on gun control

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Thursday announced a slew of new gun control measures after a pair of high-profile recent mass shootings.

Biden is presenting the executive actions in the Rose Garden, joined by gun control advocate David Chipman, his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

The White House confirmed the details of the restrictions and proposals in a Wednesday evening fact sheet.

“The President is committed to taking action to reduce all forms of gun violence – community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence, and suicide by firearm,” the White House said.

The most widely anticipated measure instructs the Justice Department to issue a proposed regulation within 30 days to undermine the at-home manufacture of so-called “ghost guns,” which can be made with equipment that drills and folds metal parts.

“We are experiencing a growing problem: criminals are buying kits containing nearly all of the components and directions for finishing a firearm within as little as 30 minutes and using these firearms to commit crimes,” the White House said. “When these firearms turn up at crime scenes, they often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number. The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of these firearms.

Another action orders the Justice Department to issue a regulation within 60 days that would “make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”

President Biden on Thursday announced a slew of new gun control measures after a pair of high-profile recent mass shootings.
President Biden on Thursday announced a slew of new gun control measures after a pair of high-profile recent mass shootings.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The White House said. “The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.” The alleged gunman passed a federal background check before purchasing the weapon.

Another Biden rule orders the Justice Department to propose model legislation on “red flag” laws that states would have the option of adopting.

Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others,” the White House said.

Biden also is ordering a report from the ATF on the illegal firearms trade. The White House indicated the last comprehensive review of the issue was in 2000.

The reported orders under consideration would not necessarily have prevented the high-profile mass shootings last month, including the massacre of 10 people at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store and the murder of eight at Atlanta-area massage parlors.

Suspected Atlanta shooter Robert Long, 21, reportedly bought a semiautomatic pistol from a dealer after passing a background check on the day of the killings. Suspected Boulder grocery store gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, also 21, bought a Ruger AR-556 pistol after passing a background check six days before the attack.

Biden called for gun control legislation last month in response to those shootings, but significant reforms are unlikely to pass the evenly divided Senate, where 60 votes generally are needed to pass bills.

Thirty-five Senate Democrats introduced legislation last month to ban “assault weapons” including popular semi-automatic guns such as AR-15-style rifles. But it’s not likely to pass. Bipartisan legislation previously failed to expand mandatory background checks to cover private gun transfers among non-dealers.

Federal litigation in recent decades expanded gun rights, establishing that an individual right to own guns is protected by the Second Amendment and knocking away local bans on handguns and restrictions on concealed carry permits.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration in 2018 banned via regulation the use of “bump stocks,” which allow semi-automatic guns to fire more rapidly, after the mass-murder of 60 at a Las Vegas country music concert. The Supreme Court turned down a challenge to that ban.

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