Biden announces efforts to curb gun violence 'epidemic'

Biden announces efforts to curb gun violence 'epidemic'

Series of executive actions seek to rein in proliferation of self-made 'ghost guns,' impose regulations on pistol braces

News Service AA

US President Joe Biden rolled out on Thursday a series of executive actions intended to mitigate the US's ongoing gun violence "epidemic," calling it an "international embarrassment."

On average, 316 people are shot per day, and of those wounded 106 will die, Biden said, detailing what he called a "public health crisis."

“We have an opportunity to fulfill the first responsibility of government: to keep our people safe," he said at the White House. "And in the process we can show the world and show ourselves that democracy works. We can come together and get big things done.”

Biden's actions seek to rein in self-made firearms known as "ghost guns" by requiring manufactures of kits used to build the weapons to imprint key parts with serial numbers, and require sellers to run a background check before the kits can be purchased.

Braces that are affixed to pistols to allow them to be fired more accurately will, under Biden's executive actions, be subject to the National Firearms Act, which requires purchasers to submit their identifying information to the Justice Department and pay a $200 fee.

The suspect who carried out a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado on March 22 allegedly used a pistol brace during the tragedy that claimed the lives of 10 people, including a police officer who was the first on the scene.

Also being addressed by the president are "red flag" laws that allow for an individual who has been deemed to be a danger to themselves or others to have their guns temporarily taken from them via a court order.

Biden said he is instructing the Justice Department to publish a legislative model for states that currently lack such laws. He further called on Congress to adopt a national version of the law, which he said would curb shootings of women by intimate partners, and suicides using firearms.

He is further instructing the agency to publish annually a report on firearms trafficking in the US.

The president's actions come amid strong opposition among Republicans to any effort to place restrictions on firearms. Two efforts to close background check loopholes have stalled in the evenly-split Senate after easily clearing the Democratic-held House of Representatives in March.

The powerful National Rifle Association, which lobbies lawmakers against approving any gun control efforts, said “Biden is dismantling the 2nd Amendment," a reference to the constitutional article protecting the right of Americans to own firearms.

The group signaled it was ready to oppose the measures, saying on Twitter: "It's time to STAND and FIGHT!"

Anticipating the charges, Biden refuted suggestions his actions are an attack on the Second Amendment, calling them "phony arguments."

It "is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution," said Biden.


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