Thursday, February 22

Biden expected to unveil new steps on gun violence

Amid growing concern about gun violence and untraceable “ghost guns” that can be 3D printed at home, President Joe Biden was expected Monday to introduce new policy measures on firearms.

Biden’s announcement will most likely rely on executive orders on gun control, ghost guns and other facets of firearms regulation as part of an approach designed to rein in the pandemic wave of firearms-related attacks, two people with knowledge of his remarks told NBC News.

As part of Monday’s policy rollout Biden was expected to name a new and long-awaited replacement nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In September, the White House drew its last nominee, 25-year ATF veteran David Chipman, following unanimous opposition from Republicans who say the want to protect the right to bear arms.

Chipman is a senior policy adviser at a nonprofit, Giffords, named for former Arizona US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in a 2011 assassination attempt. The organization aims to reduce gun violence and save lives. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell alleged that Chipman was a foe of the Second Amendment.

Gun violence advocates have been furious at the Biden administration for failing to lobby hard enough, in their view, for Chipman, and for waiting so long to announce a replacement.

The political wrangling comes amid continued school and workplace shootings and an increase in gun violence in many major cities.

Biden was also expected to announce fresh steps to make it harder for people to build and acquire so-called ghost guns.

Many big cities have reported recovering increasing numbers of the weapons. They lack serial numbers, which would enable law enforcement to track them and enforce background checks. And they are essentially available in plastic, which can bypass metal detectors.

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The president’s proposed 2023 fiscal budget provided clues about the expected policy rollout and may be at least part of its line of funding.

Unveiled in March, it includes $1.7 billion for the ATF to expand multijurisdictional gun trafficking strike forces with additional personnel and possibly increased regulation of the firearms industry.

In 2020, which is the latest year with complete data, more Americans died from gunfire than at any other time on record, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the Pew Research Center says the mortality rate connected to firearms was not the highest ever because that figure is related to population, and the population has increased more than gun violence.

Some academics have noted the gunfire phenomenon roughly correlates to a massive increase in gun sales starting at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the same time, Los Angeles, which can be a bellwether of crime, was starting to see declining murder numbers, the data journalism publication Crosstown LA reported. Firearms were used in a majority of the homicides, it said.

The White House was expected to make its announcement at an afternoon event attended by gun control advocates, gun violence victims and others, according to one person with knowledge of the event.

The White House is not commenting on the record ahead of the expected announcement tomorrow.

The news was earlier reported by CNN.

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