President Joe Biden announced a series of executive actions related to gun control on Thursday. The actions task the Justice Department with creating new laws to restrict “ghost guns,” or guns that can be self-assembled, crafting “red flag” laws that create a reporting system for potential at-risk gun buyers for states to model and making a rule on stabilizing braces.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing six initial actions to address the gun violence public health epidemic. The recent high-profile mass shootings in Boulder – taking the lives of 10 individuals – and Atlanta – taking the lives of eight individuals, including six Asian American women – underscored the relentlessness of this epidemic.
According to the White House, gun violence takes lives and leaves a lasting legacy of trauma in communities every single day in this country, even when it is not on the nightly news. Officials stated that cities across the country are in the midst of a historic spike in homicides, violence that disproportionately impacts Black and brown Americans. President Biden stated that he is committed to taking action to reduce all forms of gun violence – community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence, and suicide by firearm.
Biden also formally announced David Chipman as his nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“What are we waiting for? Because we aren’t waiting for a tragedy; I know that,” Vice President Kamala Harris said. “We’ve had more tragedy than we can bear. We aren’t waiting for solutions either, because the solutions exist. They already exist.”
President Biden is reiterating his call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence. Last month, a bipartisan coalition in the House passed two bills to close loopholes in the gun background check system.
The President’s cabinet urged Congress to close loopholes and go further, including by closing “boyfriend” and stalking loopholes that currently allow people found by the courts to be abusers to possess firearms, banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and investing in evidence-based community violence interventions.
Biden said Congress should also pass an appropriate national “red flag” law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass “red flag” laws of their own. But this Administration will not wait for Congress to act to take its own steps.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic,” Biden said. “Let me say it again: Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.”