President Joe Biden’s administration has unveiled a list of new restrictions against the right to keep and bear arms, going after popular firearm features and selecting a partisan member of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to head the agency.
Utilizing targeted and emotional language in a statement to the nation released the day prior to Biden’s Friday morning speech, the White House explained that the move was primarily in response to the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado, respectively.
“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing six initial actions to address the gun violence public health epidemic,” the statement began. The recent high-profile mass shootings in Boulder – taking the lives of 10 individuals – and Atlanta – taking the lives of eight individuals, including six Asian American women – underscored the relentlessness of this epidemic. Gun violence takes lives and leaves a lasting legacy of trauma in communities every single day in this country, even when it is not on the nightly news. In fact, cities across the country are in the midst of a historic spike in homicides, violence that disproportionately impacts Black and brown Americans.”
In response to the incidents and chance that gun control measures in currently in Congress may meet resistance, Biden has made arrangements to use executive power as a means to get around the legislative process- and potentially install a powerful gun control ally in the ATF.
“This Administration will not wait for Congress to act to take its own steps – fully within the Administration’s authority and the Second Amendment – to save lives,” the statement said.
The Biden Administration has promised to address a proposed rule to help stop the so-called “proliferation of ‘ghost guns,’” which include 80% lower receiver kits that must be completed by the end user to be considered firearms.
Claiming the kits are a “growing” problem, the administration used vague wordage frequently used by gun control groups to apply to most firearms components that can be purchased online.
It should be noted that 80% receivers made into firearms generally cannot be legally sold, and that 3D-printing such components (or even in one case, making an AK-style lower receiver out of a shovel) is not difficult to do, with or without the law.
Another promise by the administration includes a two-month time window to publish “red flag” laws.
“The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model ‘red flag’ legislation for states,” the statement read. “Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. The President urges Congress to pass an appropriate national red flag law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass red flag laws of their own. In the interim, the Justice Department’s published model legislation will make it easier for states that want to adopt red flag laws to do so.”
The Justice Department is also scheduled to “issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle,” despite multiple back-and-forth arguments on the matter over the past decade. The administration claimed that the brace -such as the one used on the Boulder shooter’s nearly two-and-a-half-foot AR pistol “can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.”
Another major announcement was the tapping of ATF veteran David Chipman as Director of the ATF.
Chipman was with the ATF from 1988 to 2012, including running the agency’s Asset Forfeiture Program. In the 1990s, he was a case agent in [the] Branch Davidian trial while working in the Waco, Texas, field office.
Chipman’s stances on gun control are far from nonpartisan, and he is currently a Senior Policy Advisor for the Giffords gun control group.
In 2019, Chipman went on the record with the House Judiciary Committee in regards to his opinions on gun rights.
“[S]imply reinstating the 90s-era ban on assault weapons is not enough,” Chipman told lawmakers. “Instead, we should regulate a broader class of firearms, including assault weapons manufactured before the law’s enactment,” he said.
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