Biden Plans Crackdown on Ghost Guns

President tries again on nominee to run the ATF
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2022 5:41 PM CDT
Biden Wants New Regulations on Ghost Guns
A 9mm pistol build kit with a commercial slide and barrel with a polymer frame is displayed Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Joe Biden on Monday moved against ghost guns, the privately made firearms without serial numbers that are increasingly cropping up in violent crimes, as he struggles to break past gun-control opposition to address firearm deaths. Speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House, Biden highlighted the Justice Department's work to finalize new regulations to crack down on ghost guns. He also announced the nomination of Steve Dettelbach, who served as a US attorney in Ohio from 2009 to 2016, to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the AP reports.

"Law enforcement is sounding the alarm," Biden said of ghost guns, briefly holding one up for cameras. "Our communities are paying the price." He promised the new regulations would save lives. Still, the announcement on guns highlights the limits of Biden's influence to push a sweeping congressional overhaul of firearm laws in response to both a recent surge in violent crime and continued mass shootings. Congress has deadlocked on legislative proposals to change gun laws for a decade, and executive actions have faced stiff headwinds in federal courts—even as the Democratic base has grown more vocal in calling on Biden to take more consequential action. Gun Owners of America immediately said it will fight the rule.

Dettelbach's confirmation, too, is likely to be an uphill battle. Biden had to withdraw the nomination of his first ATF nominee, gun-control advocate David Chipman, after it stalled for months because of opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in the Senate. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed to get nominees for the ATF position through the Senate since the director's position was made confirmable in 2006. Since then, only one nominee, former US Attorney B. Todd Jones, has been confirmed. Jones made it through the Senate in 2013 but only after a six-month struggle. Jones was acting director when President Barack Obama nominated him in January 2013.

(More President Biden stories.)

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