The executive actions President Biden announced today — which he repeatedly argued do nothing to impinge on the Second Amendment right to bear arms — include efforts to restrict weapons known as “ghost guns.”
They are handmade or self-assembled firearms that don’t have serial numbers. Some can be fabricated in as little as 30 minutes using kits and individual parts purchased online that do not require a background check, meaning they can essentially be bought by anyone.
Biden directed the Justice Department to issue a proposed rule to “stop the proliferation” of those weapons, though a senior administration official previewing the step declined to elaborate on how specifically the rule — due in 30 days — might work.
The President said that he wants these kits to be treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act. Under the act, Biden said, the key parts of these gun making kits would be required to have serial numbers, so they can be traced. The act would also require background checks for people purchasing kits.
Another proposed rule would target stabilizing braces for pistols, which aid in the weapons’ accuracy and manage recoil.
Under the new rule, the devices — which the senior administration official contended turn pistols into short barreled rifles — would be covered by regulations in the National Firearms Act, including requiring registration. Last month’s mass shooter in Boulder, Colorado, used a pistol modified with an arm brace, according to a law enforcement source.
Biden also announced:
- New investments in intervention programs in violence-prone communities
- A directive to the Justice Department to publish model “red flag” laws for states that allow the temporary removal of guns from people deemed at high risk of harming themselves or others
- A comprehensive report on firearms trafficking
Taken together, the actions amount to the first real steps by Biden’s administration to combat gun violence. The moves are limited in scope and fall short of the steps Biden has vowed to pressure Congress to take. Still, they fulfilled his pledge last month to take “common-sense” steps on his own.
Biden made the announcements Thursday from the Rose Garden alongside his attorney general, Merrick Garland, whose Justice Department will be responsible for drafting the proposed rules.