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Biden to unveil 6 executive orders to tackle gun violence, appoint permanent ATF director

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is set to unveil six executive actions to curb gun violence on Thursday, following a spate of mass shootings that have pressured the administration to keep the pledge to President’s long-standing campaign to fight gun control.

The president is also expected to announce the appointment of David Chipman as director of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Chipman is an ATF veteran who currently serves as an advisor to the gun control advocacy group named in honor of former congressman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., Who survived a shooting mass in 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.

The first action will order the Department of Justice to propose a rule within 30 days to end the proliferation of so-called “ghost” weapons, or makeshift weapons that can be made at home or have no serial number , according to a senior administration. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss actions ahead of the president’s announcement. The official declined to say whether that meant the Justice Department would classify “ghost guns” as firearms.

Other measures include asking the Justice Department to issue a proposed rule within 60 days that specifies that a device marketed as a stabilizer splint, which effectively allows a pistol to function as a short barrel rifle, is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. , according to the official.

The suspect behind a Boulder, Colorado grocery store, shooting last month that killed 10 people, used a Ruger AR-556 pistol, which looks and functions like a rifle, and even takes the same ammunition as the AR-15 which has been used in dozens of mass murders in the United States, but cannot be considered as such under United States gun laws. The official pointed out that the suspect used a pistol that included an arm splint, “which can make a firearm more stable and precise while remaining concealable.”

President has come under immense pressure from gun safety groups and Democrats to tackle gun violence after mass shootings in Colorado, Georgia and California reinstated gun control fire in the national conversation in recent weeks. A recent ABC News / Ipsos poll found that a majority of Americans (57%) disapproved of Biden’s handling of gun violence as president among Democrats and Republicans.

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As a candidate, Biden pledged to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, create a voluntary gun buy-back program, and send a bill to Congress to repeal liability protections for workers. gun manufacturers and fill in the gaps in the background checks on his first day in office. Instead, the president focused much of his attention in his early days in office on handing over his $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief program and, more recently, his $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan. of dollars.

The president told reporters at his first press conference that tackling gun violence was “a matter of timing”, although he said he did not “need to wait another minute longer. “to address gun violence following the Boulder shooting.

Biden will be joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday to announce the series of actions, which also includes asking five federal agencies to make changes to the 26 different programs in order to direct vital support to the government as quickly as possible. community violence intervention programs. The president has already proposed an investment of $ 5 billion in eight-year community violence response programs as part of his infrastructure program.

The President will also order the Justice Department to issue model “red flag” legislation for states wishing to pass such laws that allow family members or law enforcement officials to seek a court order. to temporarily prevent people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or to others. Biden will also sign an order directing the Justice Department to publish an annual report on gun trafficking, which the ATF has not done since 2000.

The ATF has been chronically devoid of permanent leadership due to the divisive nature of gun rights.

B. Todd Jones, a former US lawyer from Minnesota, announced his resignation less than two years after a controversial Senate confirmation vote. In 2013, Jones became the agency’s first permanent director in seven years.

When asked if he thinks Biden will get a Senate confirmed director, Jones recently told USA TODAY that “the window of opportunity is now.”

He said the right mix was someone with expert Justice Department contacts, like a former US lawyer who knows the criminal and civil back-end. pursuit and someone who is in the office.

Chipman served as a special agent with the ATF for 25 years before joining the Giffords Gun Control Group. At ATF, Chipman helped disrupt trafficking operations by Virginia who supplied illegal weapons to New York, served as a member of the ATF version of SWAT and was appointed Special Agent in charge of ATF’s firearms programs.

Chipman also served on the Firearms Committee of the country’s largest group of police chiefs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said these actions “will begin to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic and deliver on President Biden’s promise to be president. strongest gun safety in history. “

Contribution: Kevin Johnson, Nicholas Penzenstadler

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden to Unveil Executive Orders to Tackle Gun Violence

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