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Biden to unveil long-awaited executive action on guns

Other executive actions remain unclear. But speakers speculated that the president might announce regulations on concealed assault-type firearms; a ban on the purchase of firearms for those convicted of domestic violence against their partners; and federal guidelines on home storage security measures.

More than 100 House Democrats wrote to Biden last week, urging him to take action against concealed assault-type firearms, which are similar to that used in the Colorado shooting in which 10 people were killed. been killed.

Another announcement Biden could make on Thursday is the presentation of his candidate for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who will play a key role in any executive branch action on weapons. fire. His candidate could be difficult to navigate a Senate split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. The ATF has mostly interim administrators since the post was confirmed by the Senate. Todd Jones was confirmed as director of ATF in 2013 after spending several years as interim director.

Responding to criticism from gun control advocacy groups that his administration acted too slowly on executive actions, White House Biden responded that legislative fixes were a priority. Biden is likely to make the same argument Thursday, in addition to expressing support for bills to expand background checks and close the so-called Charleston loophole that allows a gun to be transferred from authorized gun dealers before a background check is completed. He is also likely to push for legislation to keep guns away from those considered a danger to themselves or others, as well as a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The White House declined to comment. But a senior administration official recently confirmed that the White House is finishing its actions and can announce them in a series of steps.

Biden’s long-awaited announcement comes as gun sales have skyrocketed amid a year of pandemic quarantines, a summer of racial unrest and the president’s 2020 election victory, during from which he pledged aggressive pressure to reduce gun violence. The year 2020 saw a record number of gun homicides in the United States.

“The administration has worked hard from day one to pursue actions aimed at reducing gun violence,” the senior administration official said recently. “We understand the urgency. No one understands the urgency more than the President and looks forward to rolling out some of the initial steps we can take. “

The White House has held several meetings on gun violence with prominent groups calling for gun restrictions, community groups and survivors of gun violence. The meetings were chaired by Susan Rice, director of the Home Policy Council, and Cedric Richmond, director of the Office of Public Engagement.

Community groups have applauded Biden’s decision to include $ 5 billion for community violence prevention programs in the $ 2 trillion infrastructure package he unveiled last week.

“With this investment of our federal public money, we have an unprecedented opportunity to build an infrastructure of peace to heal and break cycles of violence,” said a coalition of community groups dubbed Fund Peace, which pushed for the funding.

Biden has a long history of dealing with gun law, although his most recent efforts have ended in notable failure. After the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama called on his then vice president to pass what he hoped would be the biggest gun restrictions since the Clinton administration. But after months of meetings and limited executive action, a bill requiring extensive background checks died in the Senate.

The Senate is even less democratic now, divided 50-50. Any bill would require at least 10 Republicans to vote with all Democrats, which is unlikely.

Igor Volsky, executive director of defense group Guns Down America, said he hopes Biden will unveil a comprehensive plan that includes regulations, executive action, funding and a strategy to push legislation through Congress.

“The president didn’t just launch executive actions on gun violence,” Volsky said. “He promised to present a solid comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. Given the violence he has inherited, we expect him to keep his promise. “

With reporting by Betsy Woodruff and Josh Gerstein

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