But the actions fall short of the sweeping actions Biden promised as a candidate that must be passed by Congress, including a ban on assault weapons or the enactment of universal background checks. Senior administration officials have touted the upcoming announcements as initial steps that would be followed by further action later, including pressuring lawmakers to act.
Biden said last month after a mass shooting in Colorado, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense action that will save lives in the future. . ” But he acknowledged that passing a massive new infrastructure plan – not new gun laws – is his top legislative priority.
Biden will make the White House announcements on Thursday alongside his attorney general, Merrick Garland, whose Justice Department will be responsible for drafting the proposed rules.
Ghost pistols are handcrafted or self-assembled firearms that do not have a serial number. Some can be made in as little as 30 minutes using kits and parts purchased online. Biden will order the Justice Department to release a proposed rule to “stop the proliferation” of these weapons, though a senior administration official planning the step declined to say how the rule – due in 30 days – could work.
Another proposed rule would target stabilizer braces for pistols, which aid in weapon accuracy and manage recoil. Under the new rule, devices – which the senior administration official said transform pistols into short-barreled rifles – would be covered by the regulations of the national firearms law, including the requirement recording. Last month’s mass gunman in Boulder, Colo. Used a modified pistol with an arm splint, according to a police source.
The announcements will come as the president is expected to appoint David Chipman as the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a White House official told CNN. Chipman is a former ATF agent who is a senior policy adviser at Giffords, the organization led by former congressman Gabby Giffords, who became a gun control advocate after being shot in 2011.
ATF has been without a permanent director since 2015.
Biden also plans to announce new investments in intervention programs in communities prone to violence; a direction to the Department of Justice to publish model “red flag” laws for states that allow the temporary withdrawal of firearms from those deemed to be at high risk of injury or harm to others; and a comprehensive report on trafficking in firearms.
Taken together, these actions constitute the first real steps taken by the Biden administration to address gun violence. Inside the White House, efforts to craft executive actions have been led by Susan Rice, director of the White House Home Policy Council, and Cedric Richmond, director of the Office of Public Engagement, told CNN officials from administration and gun safety advocacy groups.
This included meeting with some of those groups and brainstorming what steps Biden could take on his own. Some advocates had called for action earlier in the administration, pointing to Biden’s promise to prioritize gun control during his campaign.
But the initial reaction from gun safety groups Wednesday night was positive.
“Each of these executive actions will begin to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic and deliver on President Biden’s pledge to be the strongest president in human security history. firearms, “John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Security, said in a statement.
“These much-needed executive actions will start saving lives right away, and our base army of nearly 6 million supporters look forward to supporting President Biden as he urges the Senate to follow his lead and act,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement.
During his campaign, Biden had said he would task his attorney general to institute better enforcement of existing gun laws to slow gun violence. It has also pledged to send $ 900 million for community programs to combat violence, which the administration seeks to accomplish.
Biden admitted at a press conference that his top legislative priority was passing an infrastructure package and that he believed careful timing was key to the success of any proposed legislation.
And he recognized that his political capital is limited.
“I haven’t counted yet,” he said in March when asked if he thought he had enough voice to pass significant reforms.
As the nation’s stance on guns evolved, Biden has been at the forefront at every stop for more than three decades, from the triumph of a 10-year ban on assault weapons to 1994 to the disappointment of a failure. push for universal background checks in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Recent shootings in Georgia and Colorado had raised the question inside the West Wing of how much political capital Biden should spend on this issue, which so often ended in frustration.
This story has been updated with details of Biden’s executive actions and the reaction to them.
Kaitlan Collins contributed to this story.