President Joe Biden announced yesterday a slate of six executive gun control orders covering “ghost guns,” stabilizing braces, red flag laws, and community violence intervention programs. He also named Giffords Senior Advisor and former ATF agent David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
The administration stressed that these measures are only “initial actions,” and called on Congress to ban “assault weapons,” private gun sales, and standard capacity magazines.
“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing six initial actions to address the gun violence public health epidemic,” the White House announced. “President Biden is reiterating his call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence. But this Administration will not wait for Congress to act to take its own steps – fully within the Administration’s authority and the Second Amendment – to save lives.”
Gun rights groups vowed to fight Biden’s measures.
“Gun Owners of America is wholeheartedly opposed to the unconstitutional gun control threatened today by President Biden – restrictions such as the attacks on homemade and brace equipped firearms and so-called ‘Red Flag’ Gun Confiscation Orders,” GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said in a statement. “Joe Biden knows he cannot beat gun owners in Congress. Instead, he’s circumventing the legislative process to impose his own tyrannical vision by executive fiat.”
The Second Amendment Foundation, which focuses primarily on pro-gun litigation, vowed to sue if Biden’s Department of Justice crosses the line.
“The devil will be in the details,” acknowledged SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Our legal team will review them and we are prepared to file suit if Biden and his administration steps over their legal authority.”
The NRA chimed in as well, saying they’re “ready to fight.”
BREAKING: Biden announced multiple extreme gun control actions.— NRA (@NRA) April 8, 2021
These actions could require law-abiding citizens to surrender lawful property, and push states to expand gun confiscation orders.
Biden also nominated a gun control lobbyist to head @ATFHQ.@NRA is ready to fight.
Gun control groups praised the orders as a victory for “gun safety.”
“This is a huge victory for the gun safety movement and we applaud President Biden for his strong leadership,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “For years, our grassroots volunteers have fought NRA-backed leaders in Washington as they ignored the fact that more than 100 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded every day –– but now, President Biden is making it clear that those days are over.
Here’s a summary of each of Biden’s orders:
- The Justice Department, within 30 days, will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.” Unserialized firearms have become a popular target of the gun control crowd in recent years. Several lawsuits have been filed calling on the ATF to redefine a firearm receiver to include products known as “80-percent receivers.” For a great breakdown of why such a redefinition would be unjustified, check out this brief by the Second Amendment Foundation.
- The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. With Chipman in charge of the ATF, you can bet the rule will “make clear” that stabilizing braces always make a pistol subject to NFA requirements.
- The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model “red flag” legislation for states. Many states have already passed red flag laws, but Biden’s order also calls on Congress to impose a nationwide law allowing a court to seize a person’s firearms without a hearing.
- The Administration is investing in evidence-based community violence interventions. It’s unclear why this was included in Biden’s gun control agenda. These programs target the individuals who commit violent crime—not law-abiding gun owners. The efficacy of these programs is up for debate, but they don’t threaten the right to keep and bear arms.
- The Justice Department will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. It’s been 21 years since the Justice Department issued a report on firearms trafficking, the White House claims. Biden is calling on his Justice Department to issue a new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking and annual updates necessary to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking today.
- The President will nominate David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. They tried to sneak this in at the bottom, but it could be the most consequential of Biden’s executive actions. Chipman was an ATF agent for 25 years, and he now serves as a Senior Advisor to the anti-gun group Giffords. This nomination will give the gun control lobby even more direct access to the administration than they already had.
Biden’s gun control measures in Congress have run into opposition from the evenly divided Senate, but majority leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to bring them up for a vote. The success of an “assault weapon” ban, universal background checks, and red flag laws hinge on whether the Democrats decide to remove the filibuster and pass the legislation in simple majority votes.