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Biden announces steps to limit U.S. 'ghost' guns, plans to tackle assault weapons

Politics Apr 08, 2021 06:57PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. U.S. President Biden hosts White House event to announce efforts to curb gun violence in Washington 2/3

By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden and his Attorney General Merrick Garland announced limited measures to tackle gun violence in the United States on Thursday in what the White House described as a first step to curb mass shootings, community bloodshed and suicides.

The new measures include plans for the Justice Department to crack down on self-assembled "ghost guns" and make "stabilizing braces" - which effectively turn pistols into rifles - subject to registration under the National Firearms Act.

Biden said he will ask the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to release an annual report on firearms trafficking in the United States, and make it easier for states to adopt "red flag" laws that flag at-risk individuals who own guns.

Biden also outlined more ambitious goals that he needs the support of Congress to accomplish, including reintroducing a ban on assault weapons, lifting an exemption on lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and passing a nationwide red flag law.

The executive orders unveiled on Thursday are not legislative. The White House promised that more action was coming.

"Today we're taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis," Biden said, speaking in the Rose Garden to an audience filled with family members of victims of gun violence.

He noted another mass shooting in South Carolina this week.

"This is an epidemic, for God's sake, and it has to stop," Biden said.

Advocates for gun restrictions welcomed the measures.

"This is a significant set of actions," said Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords, a gun violence prevention group, praising Biden for promising to do more. "Some of the most important words that he uttered were: this is just the start."

Biden, a Democrat who has a long history of advocating for gun restrictions, has come under pressure to step up action after recent mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia.

Biden announced the measures alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Merrick Garland, who Biden said would prioritize gun violence as head of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

"We've had more tragedy than we can bear," Harris said. "People on both sides of the aisle want action .... So all that is left is the will and the courage to act."

The DOJ will issue a proposed rule on ghost guns in 30 days, and proposed rules on stabilizing braces within 60 days.

Garland said the department will also be rethinking the way that it analyzes criminal cases and investigations to try learn more about modern gun-trafficking patterns.

Gun control is a politically divisive subject in the United States, which has experienced a significant number of deadly mass shootings at schools and other public venues for decades.

The National Rifle Association, which advocates for gun rights, criticized the measures. "The proposals Biden announced today could require law-abiding citizens to surrender lawful property and enable states to expand gun confiscation orders," it said in a statement.

Most Americans support strengthening U.S. gun laws. An overwhelming majority support expanding background checks and keeping guns from the mentally ill, polls by Reuters and others show https://www.reuters.com/article/us-florida-shooting-anniversary-poll/americans-support-gun-control-but-doubt-lawmakers-will-act-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKCN1PX11I.

A series of gun control measures have failed in Congress, however.

"Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said on Thursday, asking Congress to pass a proposed bill requiring background checks at gun shows and online.

The U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, and state attempts to limit who can buy guns or how they can carry them have been challenged in court by pro-gun lobby groups.

"Everything that is being proposed today is totally consistent with the Second Amendment," Biden said. "And there's a wide consensus behind the need to take action."

Biden announces steps to limit U.S. 'ghost' guns, plans to tackle assault weapons
 

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Comments (19)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 11, 2021 12:04AM ET
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Repeatedly shown to have no effect on the bad guys, just handicaps the good guys.
John Doe
ForexInsiders Apr 09, 2021 11:30AM ET
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Good luck Bidch. As long as there is evil in this world, there is a place for guns. Shall not be infringed. Our second Amendment is not the government giving us the right to bare arms. It forbids them from infringing on it. Period. All laws repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.
Mike Chen
Mike Chen Apr 08, 2021 10:56PM ET
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Weapons are evil! Modern civilization don’t need weapons! Ban it
Ferdinando Riboni
Ferdinando Riboni Apr 08, 2021 10:37PM ET
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communist
Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson Apr 08, 2021 9:00PM ET
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Between Biden's call for banning assault rifles and the March NICS checks numbere, I'm betting SWBI and RGR are going to pop. Walk into your local gun shop on a weekend and see what's going on.
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Apr 08, 2021 7:43PM ET
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I worry more about millions of illegals flooding the country. They can ***with knife or hammer.
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 08, 2021 7:43PM ET
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Yeah, that's right Vlad. Every undocumented immigrant in the country is a violent criminal with a knife, who is coming to getcha! (Unless the Boogeyman under your bed gets you first)..
Sachin Grover
Sachin Grover Apr 08, 2021 7:04PM ET
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No one except police and defence forces has a reason to possess a gun .
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 08, 2021 7:04PM ET
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you clearly are not an American
Sachin Grover
Sachin Grover Apr 08, 2021 7:04PM ET
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danny Levine yes .. still sane
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Apr 08, 2021 7:04PM ET
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OK, tell that to million Jews that were killed by Germans
Sachin Grover
Sachin Grover Apr 08, 2021 7:04PM ET
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Vlad Lozovskiy oh sorry i didnt know in america still that is happening . Yes in case american police is supporting the germans to kill jews then you guys definately need guns . Happy shooting
Tyler Phillis
Tyler Phillis Apr 08, 2021 7:04PM ET
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Sachin Grover you clearly missed his point.
JS am
JS am Apr 08, 2021 7:00PM ET
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While we’re at it, since heart disease amd obesity is such a problem, we should ban forks and spoons.
Sachin Grover
Sachin Grover Apr 08, 2021 7:00PM ET
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Bad habits of overeating are dangerous for the person hinself . But bad mood of a gun owner is dangerous for everyone else
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Apr 08, 2021 7:00PM ET
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Bad strawman arguements 101
Tyler Phillis
Tyler Phillis Apr 08, 2021 7:00PM ET
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Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 08, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Getting rid of a possible means does not get rid of the motive. It only appeases the uninformed. Encourage everyone to carry and these these will be no longer “mass”, and even lucky to be “single”. Not to mention the myriad if other crimes that would be stopped.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Apr 08, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Derpy suggestion
Sachin Grover
Sachin Grover Apr 08, 2021 6:19PM ET
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In singapore its illegal to possess even an air gun . No one needs it . Because police and army have guns and they do their job professionally .I think similar case is your neighbour ... Canada
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 08, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Roger, how about the opposite, instead? Nobody has guns (except the police and military). Then nobody needs to worry about "owning a gun for protection" from any other civilian who gets his hands on one and decides to get violent. This is how most of the rest of the civilized world operates, and they have much lower crime rates than the USA.
Tyler Phillis
Tyler Phillis Apr 08, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Sachin Grover in Singapore its illegal to speak your mind. Human rights include the right to self-defense. Why do you hate human rights?
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 08, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Adrian White  Your statements are not factually accurate.
My Buddy
My Buddy Apr 08, 2021 5:50PM ET
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It's crazy how many guns and rifles they have there.
 
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