US President Joe Biden will issue executive orders on Thursday seeking to address gun-violence in the country. This comes as the nation is still reeling from two mass-shootings in recent weeks.
The package will include the administration’s first steps to reduce the proliferation of so-called “ghost guns” or homemade guns that lack serial numbers and often use 3D-technology to construct. Recent mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado, left 18 people dead. Gun homicides accounted for nearly 20 000 deaths in the country in 2020 alone.
With mounting pressure from gun-control advocates after the latest mass killings in Atlanta and Boulder – and in the absence of any action from Congress – the White House will use Executive fiat to get the ball rolling.
In late March, President Biden said: “We’re looking at what kind of authority I have relative to imported weapons, as well as whether or not I have the authority these new weapons that are being made by 3D equipment that aren’t registered as guns at all. There may be some latitude there as well.”
Biden will announce new Justice Department-rules within 30 days to help reduce untraceable, self-assembled ‘ghost guns’. They will issue proposed rules that make clear that devices marketed as ‘stabilising braces’ that effectively turn pistols into rifles be subject to the National Firearms Act in terms of registration.
Additional measures include investment in community violence prevention and a national model red flag law that would guide states on how to remove guns from people deemed a risk to their communities.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says: “I think he sees it as vital to take steps on two tracks, because congressional legislation, as the vice president conveyed this morning, obviously has a more permanent lasting impact. Executive actions are, of course, an important lever that every president has at their disposal. There’s current discussions and analysis internally of what steps can be taken.”
Gun-control remains a divisive issue in the United States leading to roadblocks in Congress on proposed legislation that would for example expand background checks and close loopholes on gun purchases among other measures.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save the lives in the future and urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act. We can ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country once again,” says Psaki.
And as with almost every issue in America, none is more divisive than the ownership of guns, given the second amendment right to bear arms.
Gun Control Advocate Shannon Watts says: “Gun violence is a pandemic within a pandemic. We know about 50 million guns were sold in the last year, many of them to people who live in states that don’t require a background check or training or permitting. And so I’m truly afraid that the gun violence we’re seeing, not just mass shootings, but the daily gun violence we see in our communities is going to increase in the coming weeks and months.”
On the other side of the coin, professional marksman Chris Cheng says: “Universal background checks will not help. There should not be a timer delaying when an American wants to exercise their Second Amendment right or any other individual right. Every year, millions of Americans legally purchase firearms. In comparison, only a few thousand criminals or mentally ill individuals acquire guns and commit homicide. Will you let the criminal minority take away the rights of the law abiding majority rights, which are supposed to be guaranteed to us by our Constitution?”