Biden issuing gun violence executive orders, calls for AR/high-capacity magazine ban

President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Credit: Andrew Harnik

Credit: Andrew Harnik

President cites Georgia, Colorado, South Carolina shootings; names new ATF director

Declaring gun violence in the U.S. “an epidemic” and “an international embarrassment,” President Joe Biden announced a series of executive orders on Thursday that, he said, are designed to address gun violence in the U.S.

Biden is calling on the Department of Justice to issue proposed rules to stop the proliferation of so-called “ghost guns” within 30 days. Ghost guns refer to kits that allow the recipient to assemble the firearm using provided parts. These guns do not have commercial serial numbers and are difficult to track. Biden said he wants to see “ghost gun” kits “treated as firearms” and have key parts labeled with serial numbers.

The Justice Department will be given 60 days to issue a separate rule on stabilizing braces, which can turn a pistol into a more accurate weapon that fires like a rifle. Sixty days will also be provided for the DOJ to develop model “red flag” legislation that would allow friends and family members to identify an individual as a potential danger, thereby temporarily preventing the person from accessing a firearm.

Watch a replay of President Biden’s news conference below:

Biden also called on Congress to pass several gun measures now under consideration, as well as a ban on assault rifles with large-capacity magazines in the U.S.

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The department also will begin to provide more data on firearms trafficking, starting with a new comprehensive report on the issue. The administration says that hasn’t been done in more than two decades.

Biden is also nominating David Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Biden stressed his measures would not infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. In his remarks, he mentioned Wednesday night’s shooting of a South Carolina physician and his family, in which police said Phillip Adams, a former Atlanta Falcon and NFL player, killed himself after the shootings.

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Biden said U.S. flags were still flying at half-staff in honor of the eight people shot to death at three metro Atlanta spas when a gunman opened fire at a Boulder, Colorado, market, killing 10. Less than 24 hours later, Biden called on Congress to pass new gun measures.

“I don’t need to wait another minute — or another hour — to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future,” Biden said. “We should also ban assault weapons in the process. This should not be a partisan issue.”

The ATF is currently run by an acting director, Regina Lombardo. Gun-control advocates have emphasized the significance of this position in enforcing gun laws, and Chipman is certain to win praise from this group. During his time as a senior policy adviser with Giffords, he spent considerable effort pushing for greater regulation and enforcement on ghost guns, changes to the background check system and measures to reduce the trafficking of illegal firearms.

Chipman spent 25 years as an agent at the ATF, where he worked on stopping a trafficking ring that sent illegal firearms from Virginia to New York, and served on the ATF’s SWAT team. Chipman is a gun owner.

ExploreBiden calls for new gun laws, assault weapons ban after Colorado shootings

He is an explosives expert and was among the team involved in investigating the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing. He also was involved in investigating a series of church bombings in Alabama in the 1990s. He retired from the ATF in 2012.

The White House fact sheet said Chipman has worked “to advance common-sense gun safety laws.”

During his campaign, Biden promised to prioritize new gun measures as president, including enacting universal background check legislation, banning online sales of firearms and the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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