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Pres. Biden tightens some gun controls, says much more needed

WASHINGTON (AP/WSIL) -- In President Joe Biden's first notable gun control measures, he has announced executive actions aimed at addressing what the White House calls a "gun violence public health epidemic.

Biden announces executive action on guns

WATCH LIVE: President Joe Biden is expected to announce executive actions on gun control. Story:

Posted by WSIL News 3 on Thursday, April 8, 2021

In his actions announced Thursday, Biden is tightening regulations for "ghost guns" -- homemade firearms that usually are assembled from parts without serial numbers -- and tightening regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces, like the one used by the Boulder, Colorado, shooter in a rampage last month that left 10 dead.

The executive actions include:

  • Announcing David Chipman as the nominee to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). 
  • The Justice Department, within 30 days, will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.” (guns that can be assembled from kits that do not have a serial number and are untraceable).
  • Directing DOJ to issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively converts a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, the device is subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act.
  • The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model “red flag” legislation for states. Currently 19 states, including Illinois, have these laws, which allow law enforcement and family members to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.
  • The Administration is investing in evidence-based community violence interventions.
  • Directing DOJ to issue an annual report on illicit firearms trafficking patterns and trends. 

Gun-control advocates praised the actions but said much more must be done in Congress -- where chances are much dimmer.

Attorney General Merrick Garland

Attorney General Merrick Garland outlined five ways the Department of Justice will work to combat gun violence:

  • Measure the problem of criminal gun trafficking in a data-driven way
  • Close a regulatory loophole that has contributed to the proliferation of so-called "ghost guns"
  • Make clear that statutory restrictions on short-barreled rifles apply when certain stabilizing braces are added to high-powered pistols
  • Publish model "red flag" legislation for states
  • Empower communities to combat and prevent gun violence, making more than $1 billion in funding available through over a dozen grant programs.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) issued a statement on Thursday's executive actions.

“When it comes to the sickening gun violence in our streets we have a choice: give up or stand up. President Biden is prepared to lead with common sense, constitutional steps to stop this uniquely American gun madness. It’s time for Congress to stop making excuses and start making our nation safer.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
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