Updated: 2:38 PM PDT, April 08, 2021
President Joe Biden unveiled several executive actions on gun control on Thursday, calling gun violence “an epidemic that has to stop and an international embarrassment.” He also spoke on the most recent news of a deadly shooting in South Carolina that took the life of a physician, his wife, his two grandchildren and a person working at his house.
“It is actually a public health crisis,” Biden said during his White House address, calling the high rates of gun violence a “blemish on the character of our nation.” It was his first gun control measure since taking office. However, many say it falls short of his comprehensive gun-control agenda that he spoke about on the campaign trail, the Associated Press reported.
Biden referenced several mass shootings that have occurred over the years and addressed many family members of victims who were in the audience, commending them for coming to Thursday’s event. “It takes a lot of courage,” he said.
“So many people sitting here today know that well, unfortunately. They know what it is like when seconds change your life forever,” Biden said. He also said that “we’re absolutely determined to make a change,” the AP reported.
Biden spoke about tightening regulations on “ghost guns,” and to “help stop the proliferation of these firearms.” The homemade firearms, he explained, lack serial numbers, making them difficult to be traced. Currently, there is no federal requirement for a background check if someone wants to build a gun in their home or workshop. Within 30 days, the Justice Department will issue a proposed rule, AP reported.
Biden also proposed restrictions on pistol-stabilizing braces, which in effect transforms pistols into short-barreled rifles. Short-barreled rifles require owners to have a federal license for the firearm and are subject to a more thorough application process and a $200 tax.
Model legislation will be set forth within a 60-day period, which is expected to make it easier for states to adopt their own “red flag” laws. These laws allow for individuals to petition a court to allow the police to confiscate weapons from a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
He also proposed more comprehensive reports designed to provide more data on firearms trafficking. His administration also plans to make investments in community violence intervention programs across five federal agencies aimed at reducing gun violence in urban communities, CBS News reported.
Biden also said he was nominating David Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.