Biden Says Gun Violence in US Is An Epidemic, Unveils Executive Actions, Calls for National Red Flag Law
Story Code : 926193
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 Thursday in South Carolina, where five people were gunned down. In the past three weeks, other deadly mass shootings occurred in Georgia, Colorado and California, CNBC reported.
“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.
Red-flag laws allow police or family members to petition a court to bar an individual from accessing firearms. Biden also called for a federal red-flag law, saying such legislation would prevent suicides, protect women from domestic violence, and stop mass shooters before they carry out an attack.
Biden announced he would nominate former federal agent David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Chipman, who spent 25 years as an ATF special agent, is a senior policy advisor for the gun-control advocacy group Giffords.
Biden also called for Congress to end the broad immunity that gun-makers have from being sued for shootings.
The administration also hopes 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.
In his speech Thursday, Biden lamented that gun violence has become “an international embarrassment” for the US
“Our flag was still flying at half staff for the victims of the horrific murder of eight primarily Asian American people in Georgia, when 10 more lives were taken at a mass murder in Colorado,” Biden said.
He spoke after an introduction from Vice President Kamala Harris, and his speech was followed by remarks from Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The president emphasized that the newly announced actions were merely initial steps, and heaped pressure on federal lawmakers to pass gun-reform proposals that have already been approved by the Democrat-led House.
“There’s much more that Congress can do to help that effort, and they can do it right now,” Biden said.
“They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress. But they’ve passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence,” he said.
“Enough prayers; time for some action,” Biden added.
But Biden also said he’s “willing to work with anyone to get this done,” and expressed a desire to take additional actions, including reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“We should also eliminate gun manufacturers from the immunity they receive from the Congress,” Biden said, adding, “If I get one thing on my list, Lord came down and said, ‘Joe, you get one of these,’ give me that one.”