Biden announces gun restrictions in attempt to stop US violence epidemic

US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a series of executive measures to curb gun violence after two gunfire attacks last month in Atlanta and Boulder added 18 victims to gun death statistics in the country.

“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic,” Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris and Justice Secretary Merrick Garland, said during the White House speech. “Whether Congress acts or not, I will use all the resources at my disposal to keep Americans safe.”

Among the new rules announced by the president, there is one that will be developed by the Department of Justice in the coming days to help reduce the proliferation of “ghost weapons”, kits with parts and instructions allowing the buyer to assemble his own weapons and thus circumvent the inspection by the authorities.

Another rule to be validated in the next 60 days determines that weapons equipped with devices called “stabilizer belts”, which make the shot more precise and therefore more lethal, will be subject to the requirements of the national firearms law.

The perpetrator of the attack in Boulder, Colo., Which killed ten people in a supermarket on March 22, was wearing one of these seat belts, authorities said. In practice, these devices turn pistols into short-barreled rifles, which increases their potential for damage.

The Justice Department is also expected to issue legislation known as the “red flag” soon, which is expected to serve as a model for all 50 US states to write their own versions of arms trafficking reports.

The Red Flag Act allows courts and local authorities to remove access to weapons from those deemed to be dangerous to themselves or to the community.

For this kind of legislation to come into effect at the federal level, Biden needs congressional approval, but the goal, according to the White House, is to ease the path for states that wish to implement the changes immediately.

In addition, proposals that somehow toughen gun control in the United States are met by opposition from the Republican Party and lobbyists such as the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Last month, for example, the Democratic-majority House approved two bills: extending background checks for those who buy guns on the Internet or at fairs, and increasing the time between sale. and delivery, up to ten days, giving you more time to analyze the buyer’s history.

In the Senate, however, projects have stalled. Of the 100 seats in the House, 50 are for Republicans, 48 ​​for Democrats and 2 for independents who vote with the ruling party. The deciding vote, if necessary, is given by Vice President Kamala Harris, giving Biden supporters a slight advantage.

An obstruction rule, however, means that most laws need 60 votes to pass. So the Republicans can use the maneuver to block the proposals, since at least ten of them would have to vote with the Democrats to move the projects forward.

In his first speech after the Colorado attack, Biden insisted that gun laws shouldn’t be about party differences. “I don’t need to wait a minute – let alone an hour – to take common sense action that will save lives in the future and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” had he said at the time.

The NRA has said it is ready to challenge the actions announced by the White House in court. “Biden has made it clear that his goal is to curtail the rights of law-abiding gun owners, while ignoring criminals and forgoing substantive measures that will truly keep Americans safe,” said the organization through its spokesperson.

The group also criticized the appointment of David Chipman, currently an adviser to an organization that advocates gun control, to head the ATF, the body responsible for enforcing alcohol laws, in the country. tobacco, firearms and explosives.

Chipman’s confirmation for the post, however, also requires Senate approval – in this case, by simple majority. While convincing a single Republican senator to vote with the Democrats seems much easier than changing the ten-vote vote when passing laws, House approval is still uncertain.

ATF has been without a permanent director since 2015. In addition, since 2006, when lawmakers decided that ATF’s first place was a political appointment and therefore required confirmation from the Senate, only one person obtained the endorsement of the senators: B. Todd Jones, appointed by Barack Obama.

Former President Donald Trump even withdrew the appointment of Chuck Canterbury, America’s largest police union, after refusing to rule out entirely the possibility of expanding the criteria for authorizing arms purchases, such as verification. antecedents.

Major U.S. Firearms Laws

1791
2nd constitutional amendment
It simply says: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms must not be infringed.”

1934
National Firearms Act
First federal law to regulate and tax the manufacture and sale of larger caliber weapons. The pistols were outside the rules.

1938
Federal Firearms Act
He demanded that manufacturers, importers and sellers of weapons be licensed to act and has prevented the sale of weapons to former convicts, among other categories.

1968
Firearms Control Act
He expanded the list of restrictions on purchases, determined that guns should have a registration number and vetoed imports except for sporting purposes – but without defining what would be “sporting purposes”.

1986
Firearms Owners Protection Act
He lifted several purchase restrictions, legalized the sale at gun fairs and relaxed the obligations on traders to keep records of products sold.

1993
Brady Act
Established a five-day window between purchase and delivery, to allow more time for customer background checks. In the following years, the standard was relaxed, and at present rapid assessment is allowed in many cases.

1994
Federal assault weapons ban
It banned the manufacture, sale and possession of semi-automatic weapons and greater firepower. The measure expired in 2004 and was not renewed.

2005
Law on the Protection of Legal Trade in Arms
He has banned manufacturers and sellers from prosecution if their products are used in crimes and now demanded that guns be transported and maintained safely.

2007
NCIS Improvement Amendments Act
He financially encouraged states to improve the databases to be consulted by sellers before handing over the weapons to buyers.

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