WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden to seek to limit ‘ghost guns’ and make it easier for people to report family members who should not be allowed to purchase guns as part of a series of executive actions Thursday following the recent mass shootings.
Efforts to find a bipartisan deal on popular gun control measures have failed, even as lawmakers have declared themselves open to provisions such as tightening up background checks.
Biden’s actions are limited and will always face legal opposition from gun rights advocates, who view any effort to limit access as a violation of the Second Amendment.
Biden is expected to appear in the Rose Garden and will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland. A number of Democratic members of Congress, gun control advocates and local officials are also expected.
Biden is also expected to announce that he is appointing David Chipman, a gun control advocate, to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.
The White House detailed the planned executive actions, arguing that Biden’s instructions to the Justice Department will limit access to firearms.
Biden will order the DOJ to write rules that will reduce the proliferation of “ghost weapons,” homemade firearms often made from parts purchased online that do not have traceable serial numbers.
Biden will also make sure to reduce access to stabilizer orthotics, which can effectively turn a pistol into a more deadly rifle while not being subject to the same regulations as a similarly sized rifle.
Finally, it will ask the DOJ to publish model “red flag” laws for states to use as guides. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to ask state courts to temporarily prevent people from obtaining guns if they pose a danger to themselves or for others.
Biden will also order the DOJ to publish a report on gun trafficking, which has not been done since 2000. He will also announce his support for programs to “reduce gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration, ”according to a fact sheet shared by the White House.
Biden faced pressure from Democrats and gun control activists to take immediate action to tackle gun violence following the shootings in Georgia, Colorado and California. House Democrats have passed a gun control law, but there is not enough support, even among Democrats in the Senate, to move this bill forward.
Gun control activists also criticized Biden for not making gun control legislation a priority for his administration, as he had promised to do during his presidential campaign.
In a call with reporters Wednesday night, administration officials stressed that Thursday’s actions were only the first step and that Biden would continue to seek legislative solutions to gun violence.
“This is the first round of actions to advance President Biden’s gun violence reduction agenda,” an official said. “The administration will pursue legislative and executive action at the same time. You will continue to hear the president call on Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence.”
Still, it’s unclear how much political capital Biden is willing to invest to push through gun control legislation on Capitol Hill where Republicans remain staunchly opposed to Democrats’ proposals, especially as he focuses on the adoption of its American employment plan and that it continues to face the pandemic.
At a press conference late last month, Biden said he was focusing on other legislative priorities, such as his infrastructure plan.
“It’s a question of timing,” he said, when asked about gun control legislation. “As you have all observed, successful presidents, better than me, have succeeded in large part because they know how to time what they do, to order it, to decide on priorities, what to do. . “