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Biden says gun violence is an epidemic, unveils executive actions and calls for national red flag law

President Joe Biden speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 8, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a series of executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence, while urging Congress to pass broader gun control legislation.

The bundle of actions, Biden’s first attempt as president to tackle the fraught politics surrounding guns in America, was unveiled in the wake of a recent spate of mass shootings across the country, including deadly attacks in Georgia and Colorado.

“This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” Biden said in a Rose Garden speech.

The White House’s moves include directing the Department of Justice to craft a rule addressing the spread of untraceable “ghost guns” and publish an example of “red flag” legislation for states to follow.

Biden also announced he would nominate former federal agent David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Chipman, who boasts 25 years of experience as an ATF special agent, is a senior policy advisor for the gun-control advocacy group Giffords.

Here’s what Biden’s actions will do, according to a fact sheet from the White House:

  • Direct the Justice Department to propose a rule within 30 days to help stop the proliferation of ghost guns – firearms assembled from kits that often lack serial numbers and are difficult to trace.
  • Direct the DOJ to craft a rule within 60 days that clarifies the point at which a stabilizing arm brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, subjecting that firearm to additional regulations.
  • Direct the DOJ to publish, within 60 days, model red-flag legislation, which lets law enforcement officers or family members ask a court to temporarily bar someone from accessing guns under certain circumstances. The White House says the model legislation will make it easier for states to pass their own versions of that law.
  • Direct the DOJ to issue a comprehensive report on gun trafficking.

The administration also aims to focus investment in “community violence interventions,” which are methods for lowering gun violence in cities without incarcerating people, the fact sheet said. Some metropolitan areas, such as New York City, are grappling with a surge in shooting crimes and homicides amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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