President Biden is ready to unveil his first attempts to curb gun violence on Thursday, announcing a set of modest moves designed to begin modernizing federal gun policy by adapting the government’s definition of a firearm and responding more aggressively to urban gun violence.
Mr. Biden on Thursday is also ready to appoint David Chipman, a former specialist agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to head the agency. A widely cited expert on gun violence, Chipman has in recent years served as political director of Giffords, the gun control organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a 201
If confirmed, Chipman would be the first permanent director of the agency for more than six years. Given the full nature of gun policy, only one ATF director has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate in the past 15 years, leaving the agency largely run by a number of acting chiefs.
The president is set to formally announce the election on Thursday when he reveals other steps he is taking through executive action to tackle gun violence. He is joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland, whose Department of Justice is tasked with taking some of his most aggressive steps toward gun policy in more than a decade.
The changes include a review of federal policy on ghost weapons – handmade or self-assembled firearms that do not include serial numbers – and the use of stabilizing harnesses on pistols, a change that makes the weapon a short barrel rifle.
Weapons control advocates are pushing the president to classify ghost weapons as traditional firearms, a move that requires anyone who buys them to undergo federal background checks. On Thursday, Mr Biden gives the Justice Department 30 days to issue potential changes to federal rules “to help stop the proliferation of weapons,” according to the White House.
Given the handmade nature of the weapons, ghost weapons can often not be traced by law enforcement because serial numbers are not required.
The Ministry of Justice is also given 60 days to issue a proposed rule regarding the stabilization of braces. Attaching such a bar to a pistol makes the firearm more stable and essentially transforms it into a short-barreled rifle subject to federal law. The White House noted that the alleged shooter in March shot the supermarket in Boulder, Colorado,.
The Ministry of Justice will also be asked to draft model legislation to enact “red flag” laws at the state level. For years, lawmakers on both sides have been pushing for federal and state law that will temporarily prevent people facing mental illness or other personal crises from accessing firearms if law enforcement or a judge finds that they poses a danger to themselves or others.
To curb the increase in killings nationwide, the Biden administration is also asking five federal agencies to tailor more than two dozen government programs to help bend community violence intervention programs nationwide. The White House noted that the president’s U.S. job plan proposes to spend $ 5 billion over eight years to support state and city-based violence interventions.
The new plans received swift support from national arms control organizations on Wednesday night.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement that the movements “will begin to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic and begin to heed President Biden’s promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history.” “He later added that the decision to target ghost weapons and” treat them as the deadly weapons they are “will undoubtedly save countless lives – as will the critical funding given to groups focusing on urban weapons.”
Organizations pushing for stricter gun laws and Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for years for the federal government to reclassify ghost weapons and force buyers to undergo background checks.
“Ghost weapons are weapons, too. And it’s time to close the loophole,” Democratic Congressman Adriano Espaillat tweeted Wednesday, pushing for legislation to regulate ghost weapons.
Meanwhile, the NRA immediately pushed the plans back. The organization tweeted Wednesday night that the actions were “extreme” and wrote “The NRA is ready to fight.”
“These actions may require law-abiding citizens to surrender legal property and push states to expand arms confiscation orders,” the NRA tweeted.
Growing in popularity, but difficult to track widely given the lack of a serial number, ghost weapons have been used for several shooting-related crimes in recent years.
The Biden administration has been reluctant to discuss arms control in public amid its initial focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic downturn. During his first formal press conference last month, the president signaled that he would not be rushed to address the issue despite recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado, and that his government would continue to focus on pushing legislative responses to the pandemic and his multi -billion dollars. infrastructure plan.
His decision has allowed critics to highlight how Mr. Biden came short on fulfilling a remarkable campaign promise. When Biden appeared in Nevada in February 2020, he promised to pass legislation to Congress on his first day in office that would lift the liability protection for gun manufacturers and close loopholes in the federal gun background control system.
For weeks, administration aides have said plans were still on the way – a posture that did not change in the wake of the recent shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado.
Corey Rangel, Nancy Cordes, Kristin Brown and Fin Gomez contributed to this report.