ASSOCIATED PRESS — President Joe Biden, in his first major gun control measures since taking office, is announcing executive actions Thursday aimed at addressing what the White House calls a “gun violence public health epidemic.”
Biden also is 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 has faced increasing pressure to act after a recent series of mass shootings, but the White House has repeatedly emphasized the need for legislative action. While the House passed a background-check bill last month, gun control measures face slim prospects in an evenly divided Senate, where Republicans remain near-unified against most proposals.
A White House fact sheet said those shootings “underscored the relentlessness” of the epidemic.
Biden is to be joined at the late morning Rose Garden event by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Most of the actions are coming from the Justice Department.
Biden is tightening regulations of buyers of “ghost guns” — homemade firearms that usually are assembled from parts and milled with a metal-cutting machine and often lack serial numbers used to trace them. It’s legal to build a gun in a home or a workshop and there is no federal requirement for a background check. The goal is to “help stop the proliferation of these firearms,” according to the White House.
The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule aimed at reining in ghost guns within 30 days, though details of the rule weren’t immediately issued.
A second proposed rule, expected within 60 days, will tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces, like the one used by the Boulder, Colorado, shooter in a rampage last month that left 10 dead. The rule will designate pistols used with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own and are subject to a more thorough application process and a $200 tax.
The department also is publishing model legislation within 60 days that is intended to make it easier for states to adopt their own “red flag” laws. Such laws allow for individuals to petition a court to allow the police to confiscate weapons from a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.