Biden’s 6 executive orders on gun control

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd speaks on Biden’s gun control actions . . .

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Biden’s gun control actions.

Things to note in Biden’s gun control measures contained in the article below:

  • “a public health crisis”
  • “epidemic of gun violence”
  • “homemade guns”
  • “ghost guns”
  • “pistol-stabilizing braces”
  • “red flag” laws
  • David Chipman” adviser at the gun control group Giffords

Biden announces 6 executive orders on gun control

Thursday, April 8, 2021 :: By Alexandra Jaffe, Aamer Madhani and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, in his first gun control measures since taking office, announced a half-dozen executive actions Thursday aimed at addressing a proliferation of gun violence across the nation that he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment.”

“It is actually a public health crisis,” Biden said during remarks at the White House.

Greeting the families of gun violence victims and activists, he assured them: “We’re absolutely determined to make change.”

His Thursday announcement delivers on a pledge Biden made last month to take what he termed immediate “common-sense steps” to address gun violence, after a series of mass shootings drew renewed attention to the issue. His announcement came the same day as yet another shooting, this one in South Carolina, where five people were killed.

But Thursday’s announcement underscores the limitations of Biden’s executive power to act on guns. They include moves to tighten regulations on homemade guns and provide more resources for gun-violence prevention, but fall far short of the sweeping gun-control agenda Biden laid out on the campaign trail.

Indeed, the White House has repeatedly emphasized the need for legislative action to tackle the issue. But while the House passed a background-check bill last month, gun control measures face slim prospects in an evenly divided Senate, where Republicans remain near-unified against most proposals.

Biden is tightening regulations of buyers of “ghost guns” – homemade firearms that usually are assembled from parts and milled with a metal-cutting machine and often lack serial numbers used to trace them. It’s legal to build a gun in a home or a workshop and there is no federal requirement for a background check. The goal is to “help stop the proliferation of these firearms,” according to the White House.

The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule aimed at reining in ghost guns within 30 days, though details of the rule weren’t immediately issued.

A second proposed rule, expected within 60 days, will tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces, like the one used by the Boulder, Colorado, shooter in a rampage last month that left 10 dead. The rule will designate pistols used with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own and are subject to a more thorough application process and a $200 tax.

The department also is publishing model legislation within 60 days that is intended to make it easier for states to adopt their own “red flag” laws. Such laws allow for individuals to petition a court to allow the police to confiscate weapons from a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

The department also will begin to provide more data on firearms trafficking, starting with a new comprehensive report on the issue. The administration says that hasn’t been done in more than two decades.

Biden is also nominating David Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Biden administration will also make investments in community violence intervention programs, which are aimed at reducing gun violence in urban communities, across five federal agencies.

Officials said the executive actions were “initial steps” completed during Garland’s first weeks on the job and more may be coming.

The ATF is currently run by an acting director, Regina Lombardo. Gun-control advocates have emphasized the significance of this position in enforcing gun laws, and Chipman is certain to win praise from this group. During his time as a senior policy adviser with Giffords, he spent considerable effort pushing for greater regulation and enforcement on ghost guns, changes to the background check system and measures to reduce the trafficking of illegal firearms.

Chipman spent 25 years as an agent at the ATF, where he worked on stopping a trafficking ring that sent illegal firearms from Virginia to New York, and served on the ATF’s SWAT team. Chipman is a gun owner.

He is an explosives expert and was among the team involved in investigating the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing. He also was involved in investigating a series of church bombings in Alabama in the 1990s. He retired from the ATF in 2012.

During his campaign, Biden promised to prioritize new gun control measures as president, including enacting universal background check legislation, banning online sales of firearms and the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But gun-control advocates have said that while they were heartened by signs from the White House that they took the issue seriously, they’ve been disappointed by the lack of early action.

With the announcement of the new measures, however, advocates lauded Biden’s first moves to combat gun violence.

“Each of these executive actions will start to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic, and begin to make good on President Biden’s promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.

Biden’s Gun Control By Executive Order

Anti-gun Senators and Mayors Push Biden on Executive Gun Controls

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd speaks on Joe Biden’s gun control proposal.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Biden’s gun control proposals.

Anti-gun Senators and Mayors Push Biden on Executive Gun Controls

NRA-ILA :: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021

Following a year filled with the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest, Americans are in no rush to enact further gun controls. According to data from a January Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans are satisfied with the current gun control laws. The poll also found that 9 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with current firearms laws, but want them to be made less strict. Therefore, according to the survey, a majority of Americans (51 percent) either want gun control laws to remain the same or to be made less restrictive.

Sensing a dearth of popular support for their gun control schemes, anti-gun politicians are urging President Joe Biden to act unilaterally to restrict firearms. This week, a group of 12 Senate Democrats led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Biden that urged the president to nominate a permanent director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and empower them to enact a raft of executive gun control measures. In a similar vein, a group of big-city mayors that included Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot penned a CNN opinion piece that called on the president to attack gun rights through executive action.

According to the Senators’ letter, “the next Director of the ATF must be committed to enacting policies that will allow the agency to fulfill its mission to protect communities and combat gun violence.” According to the group, in order to do this the next director must adopt the following priorities: 

1. Implement regulations to stop the proliferation of ghost guns.

2. Issue a new regulation clarifying which gun sellers must get dealer licenses and run

background checks.

3. Modernize, strengthen, and prioritize oversight of the gun industry.

4. Ensure public transparency by disseminating robust statistical data.

5. Update critical reports and develop new ways to affirmatively share information about

gun trafficking and the source of crime guns.

6. Require FFLs to notify the Department of Justice every time they complete a gun sale

where a background check has been initiated but not completed to ensure the

prioritization of completing background checks where a sale has been made.

Some of the items are vague, but others directly correspond to policies that have repeatedly been rejected by the American public through their elected representatives.

The first item on the anti-gun senators’ wish list would restrict Americans’ right to make their own firearms for personal use by further regulating unfinished frames and receivers.

Concerning these items, the current federal statute and regulations are clear. Federal law defines a “firearm” to include “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive” and “the frame or receiver of any such weapon.” In the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), “firearm frame or receiver” is further defined as “That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”

In order to target unfinished frames and receivers, ATF would likely attempt to broaden the definition of “firearm frame or receiver” in the CFR. Such a change is inadvisable and would at the very least require a formal rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.

By targeting the materials Americans use to make their own firearms, ATF would be striking at the core of the Second Amendment right in a manner that has no basis in the text, history, and tradition of the right. Since long before the founding, Americans have enjoyed the right to make their own firearms for personal use without government interference. 

The second wish list item is something of an Obama-era retread. Having failed to criminalize the private transfer of firearms by means of legislation in 2013, in 2015 the Obama administration explored restricting the private transfer of firearms through executive action.

Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)) provides,

(a) It shall be unlawful–

(1) for any person–

(A) except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or in the course of such business to ship, transport, or receive any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce; or

Therefore, a person may not “engage in the business” of dealing firearms without a Federal Firearms License. Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), of course, are required to consult the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before transferring a firearm to a non-dealer.

The term “engaged in the business,” as it pertains to firearms dealers, is defined by statute (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)) as,

a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;

Notice that the language does not contain a specific number of firearm sales or transfers that triggers the definition of “engaged in the business.” The language in the definition was carefully crafted to exempt individuals selling and trading firearms in and out of their private collections, no matter the frequency or volume. Rather, it is when a person sells firearms “as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit” that a person must obtain Federal Firearms License.

Enacting this statutory definition of “engaged in the business” was a key component of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. Prior to FOPA, ATF had targeted private individuals at gun shows who sold a few firearms out of their private collections on multiple occasions.

In the end, the Obama administration correctly determined that they did not have the authority to limit the private transfer of firearms by executive fiat. Instead, the administration issued a 15-page guidance document that summarized existing law concerning firearms dealing.

Though vague, wish list items four and five appear targeted at the Tiahrt Amendment. This important piece of legislation restricts the dissemination of certain law enforcement data on firearms traces. Prior to the Tiahrt Amendment, the often-misleading data had been abused by gun control advocates to push gun control measures and attack the firearms industry.

Further, the release of this sensitive data had the potential to imperial law enforcement officers. Writing in support of the Tiahrt Amendment, the National President of the Fraternal Order of Police explained “releasing sensitive information about pending cases can jeopardize the integrity of an investigation or even place the lives of undercover officers in danger.” Though the amendment restricts the dissemination of trace data, it does ensure law enforcement can access this information for legitimate investigative purposes.

Item six is an attempt to undermine the NICS’s three-day safety-valve provision by intimidating FFLs into not transferring a firearm even when they are permitted by law to do so.

Under federal law, if a NICS check is delayed for further research and the FBI’s NICS section is unable to determine that the prospective firearm transferee is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal or state law three business days after the check was initiated by a firearms dealer, the firearms transfer may proceed at the dealer’s option. This provision encourages the FBI to conduct NICS checks in an efficient manner and prevents the government from arbitrarily denying an individual their Second Amendment rights through an indefinite delay. According to the 2019 NICS Operations Report only 70 percent of NICS checks that year resulted in an “instant determination,” with the remaining 30 percent requiring some analysis or additional research. 

The proposed requirement that FFLs report lawful firearm transfers to the Department of Justice, who through ATF has control over their license, is an obvious attempt to bully gun dealers into cutting off this vital safety-valve. Moreover, there is no statutory language supporting such a scheme. 

In addition to Mayor Lightfoot, the CNN column was authored by United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. In the piece, the mayors offered a vaguer call for executive action than their more sophisticated federal allies, but explicitly demanded action on “ghost guns” and “strengthening the background check system.”

As the piece pointed out, the mayors are all members of finance tycoon Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Moreover, the group contended that their anti-gun initiative was the result of the winter meeting of the USCM.

The USCM is a handgun prohibitionist organization. In June 1972, USCM adopted a policy resolution on handgun control that called for the abolition of private handgun ownership. The resolution stated,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors takes a position of leadership and urges national legislation against the manufacture, importation, sale, and private possession of handguns, except for use by law enforcement personnel, military and sportsmen clubs;

In 2008, USCM joined with Legal Community Against Gun Violence (now Giffords) in a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court Case District of Columbia v. Heller that argued in favor of upholding Washington, D.C.’s unconstitutional handgun ban. 

It is unsurprising that members of a group that believes the Second Amendment does not constrain their power to enact gun control would believe that the U.S. Constitution and federal law should not constrain President Biden’s.

In late 2015, Obama tasked his White House with doing everything within their lawful authority to pursue gun control through executive action. Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said of Obama’s administrative gun control efforts, “he has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there’s any additional action we can take administratively…The President has made clear he’s not satisfied with where we are, and expects that work to be completed soon.” In remarks announcing the new actions, Obama stated “we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books…”Further, a press release that accompanied the announcement of these measures, stated, “The President and Vice President are committed to using every tool at the Administration’s disposal to reduce gun violence.”

The executive branch has not been granted further power to regulate firearms since the Obama administration “scrub[bed]” the law for avenues to attack gun owners by presidential fiat. The measures advanced by this anti-gun cadre of U.S. Senators and mayors are willful perversions of federal law that NRA stands ready to oppose.