Biden Takes First Steps on Gun Violence

Congress is free to help any time, president says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 3:41 PM CDT
Biden Takes First Steps on Gun Violence
President Biden, accompanied by Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Dealing with frustration that he hasn't acted on gun violence issues since the recent mass shootings, President Biden announced a series of executive actions Thursday. "Gun violence in this country is an epidemic," Biden said in the Rose Garden, adding that "the idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as a nation." His proposals include measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including restrictions on weapons that can be assembled at home. Known as "ghost guns," they don't have serial numbers and so can be difficult to trace. He ordered the Justice Department to draft a regulation for a device that can essentially turn a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, the Washington Post reports. And Biden again called on the House to act on gun control legislation, per USA Today, including restoring the assault weapons ban.

Biden announced David Chipman as his choice for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is part of the Justice Department. Chipman could have a tough time clearing the Senate; he's worked for gun control, and has been an adviser to an organization founded by former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in 2011. The pressure on Biden stems partly from his campaign promise to act against gun violence in his first 100 days in office. That didn't happen. He said last month that gun violence is among the "long-term problems" that he'll get to after dealing with the pandemic, infrastructure, and voting rights, per the Washington Post. On Thursday, he passed some of that pressure on to lawmakers. "They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress," he said, per CNBC. "But they've passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence." (More gun control stories.)

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