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Biden announces executive actions to tackle gun violence

WASHINGTON – President Biden is expected to unveil a series of executive actions dealing with gun violence Thursday, weeks after back-to-back mass shootings left 18 people dead, pushing the issue of gun legislation ahead of an administration tackling multiple crises.

Mr. Biden is also expected to announce his intention to appoint David Chipman, a gun control lawyer, to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, officials said. The Bureau has not had a permanent director since 2015.

The movements come when Mr. Biden has been under pressure to tackle gun violence, but has made it clear that it is not currently possible to push legislation through a blockade of Republican opposition. Officials reiterated Wednesday that the proposals the president planned to unveil with Merrick B. Garland, the attorney general, were only a start, and that the president would continue to urge Congress to intervene.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Justice announced three initiatives to combat gun violence.

A rule would help stop the spread of so-called ghost weapons – sets that make it possible to assemble a gun from pieces. White House officials would not say whether the administration would ultimately seek to classify ghost weapons as firearms, only that the department tried to prevent criminals from buying sets containing all the components and instructions for building one.

Another rule would make it clear that when an equipment marketed as a stabilizing bar converts a gun into a short-barreled rifle, that weapon is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The shooter in Boulder, Colo., Who fired last month, used a handgun with a barbell, making it more stable and accurate, officials said.

Finally, the Ministry of Justice will also publish model “red flag” legislation for states. The measure will allow police officers and family members to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from people who may pose a danger to themselves or others. Mens Mr. Biden can not pass national law with red flag without Congress, officials said the goal of the guide was to make it easier for states that want to pass it, to do so now. The department also plans to release a comprehensive report on the trade in firearms, which it has not done since 2000.

Sir. Biden’s job plan calls on Congress to invest $ 5 billion over eight years to support evidence-based action programs for violence in society. Officials would not say whether they had plans to try to increase the budget for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which a gun control lawyer has been pushing for.

Since Congress is unlikely to pass any gun laws, the White House has stressed the importance of executive action as a more realistic starting point for fulfilling Mr. Biden’s campaign promise to end gun violence. Susan E. Rice, Director of the Home Affairs Council, has served as the administration’s point guard on the upcoming executive actions.

Still, gun control groups supporting Biden’s candidacy have criticized the president for not making gun legislation a high priority, as he had promised on the campaign trail.

For others, Biden’s decision to move forward with his ambitious job and infrastructure plan – even after two mass shootings – represented a more pragmatic approach from a president dealing with multiple crises and Republican opposition to gun control measures.

The House passed two gun control bills last month, but they disappear in the Senate in light of the House’s threshold of 60 votes to pass most legislation, requiring the support of at least 10 Republicans.

On Wednesday, officials who were shown Mr. Biden’s first step in curbing gun violence was that it was merely an “initial set of actions” that tempered expectations of meatier or more specific initiatives by noting that Mr Garland has been a lawyer for less than a month. .

“These much-needed executive actions will immediately begin to save lives,” said Shannon Watts, founder of the arms control group Moms Demand Action, “and our grassroots army of nearly six million supporters looks forward to standing behind President Biden as he calls on the Senate.” to follow his leadership and act. ”

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