President Joe Biden came into office with a promise that his administration would take action to impose new gun control measures as part of an effort to reduce gun violence in the U.S.
As he revealed this week by announcing six significant gun-related actions, Biden is starting to make good on his campaign pledge.
“Will not wait for Congress to act”
While the executive orders clearly concerned many Second Amendment advocates across the country, they are not as draconian as some critics had feared. A fact sheet released on Wednesday laid out the “initial actions” set to be implemented by the Biden administration in response to what it described as a “gun violence public health epidemic.”
The language seems to leave the door open for additional actions and, somewhat ominously, signals a purported link between gun crime and public health.
Biden cited the need for immediate action amid a spike in gun violence, reiterating his demands for Congress to pass legislation that would, among other things, close so-called “loopholes” in the background check system, ban “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines, and implement “red flag” provisions allowing for the confiscation of guns in certain cases.
In a statement on the matter, the White House declared: “But this Administration will not wait for Congress to act to take its own steps — fully within the Administration’s authority and the Second Amendment — to save lives.”
Arguably the most impactful of the executive actions announced this week was the nomination of David Chipman to serve as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The former ATF special agent went on to become a leading gun control advocate after spending 25 years in federal service.
“This is an American issue”
The president also tasked the Department of Justice to devise a proposed rule within 30 days that would stop the proliferation of unregistered “ghost guns,” which are typically homemade guns without serial numbers that can be tracked by the government.
Additionally, the Justice Department was instructed to propose a rule clarifying whether a “stabilizing brace” attached to a pistol would effectively turn the weapon into a “short-barreled rifle” that could result in heavier restrictions under the National Firearms Act.
A supplemental White House statement signaled the administration’s reliance on the routinely failed tactic of simply throwing money at a problem in hopes that it will go away — this time via taxpayer-funded grants for “community violence intervention.”
Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal would give $5 billion to such groups and he has ordered five federal agencies to work through more than a dozen separate programs to further disperse countless millions more to various related organizations.
Following a pair of mass shootings last month, the president signaled his desire to act swiftly, according to the Associated Press, insisting: “It should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue. It will save lives, American lives.”