Biden to announce executive actions on gun control, name ATF nominee

  • In US
  • 2021-04-08 00:00:00Z
  • By NBC News

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden is expected to announce a series of executive actions Thursday on gun control as well as nominate David Chipman as the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to White House officials.

The announcement comes as Biden has faced pressure from Democrats and gun control activists to take immediate action to address gun violence in the wake of recent mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and California.

Biden is expected to direct the Department of Justice to issue proposals to curb the proliferation of "ghosts guns" and a proposal on how to better regulate stabilizing braces. He will ask the Department of Justice to publish model "red flag" legislation for states to follow as well.

Ghost guns are homemade guns, often made from parts purchased online, and do not have traceable serial number, while a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle while not being subjected to the same regulations that a rifle of similar size would be. The shooter in Bolder, Colo., last month used a stabilizing brace.

Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition a state court to temporarily block people from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.

Biden will also direct the DOJ to issue a new report on firearms trafficking, which hasn't been done since 2000. An administration official argued that this will give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking.

The president is also expected announce that his administration is investing in evidence-based community violence interventions that provides strategies for "reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration," according to a fact-sheet shared by the White House.

"This is an initial set of actions to make progress on President Biden's gun violence reduction agenda," an official said. "The administration will be pursuing legislative and executive actions at the same time. You will continue to hear the president call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence."

Chipman, Biden's ATF pick, currently serves as senior policy adviser at Giffords, the gun control advocacy group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. He previously served 25 years as a special agent at ATF.

ATF leaders have historically faced trouble getting confirmed in the Senate. The last head of the bureau to be confirmed was B. Todd Jones in 2013. Before Jones, the bureau went without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years.

Since Jones stepped down in 2015, the ATF has had only acting directors. Regina Lombardo, appointed under Trump, is currently the acting director.

Although Biden promised during his campaign to take a number of action addressing gun control, activists have been dismayed that it had not been an early priority for his administration, especially as the recent mass shootings sparked fresh debate on how to tackle gun violence.

At a press conference in late March, Biden indicated that he was focused on legislative priorities other than gun control, such as his infrastructure plan.

"It's a matter of timing," he said, when asked what actions he might take to tackle gun violence. "As you've all observed, successful presidents, better than me, have been successful in large part because they know how to time what they're doing, order it, decide priorities, what needs to be done."


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